2019 AFCON Qualifiers: Shonga becoming Zambia's new hero?
The road to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, scheduled to take place in Cameroon from the 15th of June - 13 July, continued on Wednesday and throughout Thursday 11th of October 2018. Two matches were to be played on either days, before the Sierra Leone and Ghana fixture got cancelled by CAF as per FIFA’s directive. We made sure you wouldn’t miss the action and have therefore summarised all the thrills and spills below.
Wednesday: Zambia 2 - 1 Guinea Bissau
The Chipolopolo entered this fixture desperately needing all three points after securing just a single point from their first two matches that saw them lie third in their qualifying group, behind Mozambique and their Wednesday opponent, Guinea Bissau. The 2012 AFCON champions did take advantage of the home atmosphere and cruised to a comfortable 2-1 victory. The big FC Metz defender, Stoppila Sunzu put the hosts ahead in the first half after rising above all the Djurtus men and heading from a corner. The rising star, plying his trade for Orlando Pirates in South Africa just had to put his name on the scoresheet once again. The 21-year-old, Justin Shonga nicknamed “The Sheriff” secured the points for the Copper Bullets after receiving a defense splitting pass from the midfield allowing him to round off the goalkeeper in typical “Brazilian Ronaldo fashion” before speeding to the terraces to salute the home fans. Shonga has now scored 9 goals in 15 appearances for Zambia. Some striker he is becoming! AFCON winning goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene then gifted the African Wild Dog a consolation goal close to stoppage time as he dribbled himself allowing the marker to tap the ball into the net. Zambia and Guinea Bissau ended the night tied on 4 points together with group leaders Mozambique who play Namibia on Saturday. Come Sunday, Zambia’s resolve to resuscitate their qualifying campaign will again be tested afresh as they travel to Guinea Bissau.
Wednesday: Ethiopia 0 - 0 Kenya
The two East African countries played out to a goalless draw ensuring group F stays wide-open to any takers. All the four teams, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Ethiopia had been sitting on 3 points gained from their first two matches and matchday 3 did not help to separate any of the teams. The goalless draw follows after the Ghana and Sierra Leone fixture was postponed by CAF. Kenya will now welcome Ethiopia on Sunday at Nyayo National Stadium to close the two legged contest.
Thursday: Congo 3 -1 Liberia
One of the most famous sportsman on the African continent, once Ballon d’Or winner, FIFA World Footballer Of The Year and now President of Liberia, George Weah had to see his nation’s hopes of reaching the 2019 AFCON finals melt away like ice stacked up on the equator. Liberia would have to quickly forget the 3 -1 loss in Congo if they are to get something in the return fixture on Tuesday, 17th of October. They currently lie rock-bottom with a single point after three matches in a group also occupied by highly rated DR Congo and Zimbabwe who are are tipped to serve a key spectacle on Saturday.
What was your favorite highlight from the midweek AFCON Qualifiers? How is your team faring?