Tuesday, January 24, 2012

25.01. (Wed) 17:00 Libya - Zambia

Zambia coach Herve Renard animated on the touchline
Getty Images


AboudBerrish, Salama, Shibani, Aboubaker
Esnani, Saad, El Khatoushi
Osman, Zuway


MweeneLungu, Himonde, Sunzu, Musonda
Sinkala, Kasonde
Katongo, Kalaba, Chansa

The Mediterranean Knights’ first appearance at an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) since 2006 didn’t go according to plan on Saturday. Despite starting relatively well against co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, Libya lost their composure and struggled mightily to create chances until after Javier Balboa’s sublime finish on 87 minutes.
Now it will be up to coach Marcos Paqueta to find a solution to his team’s attacking troubles, specifically how to get his imposing centre-forward, Ahmed Zuway, more involved.
It will be an uphill task against a Zambian side that completely changed the complexion of the group by stunning Senegal with two quick first-half goals before resisting the Teranga Lions’ offensive armada.
Needless to say, Libya don’t have as much going forward as the west African do and the service to Zuway will need to be much more precise against the organised and often ruthless Chipolopolo.
In his post-match press conference, Herve Renard was quick to point out that Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba’s goals were a direct translation of his strategy to play balls in behind Senegal’s tall and athletic defence. The Libyans won’t  pose the same physical challenge but, on their day, the north Africans could cause problems for a Zambian side that they faced in qualifying.
  • Libya’s last win over Zambia was during 2012 Afcon qualifying when they beat the southern Africans by one goal in Tripoli
  • These two countries have faced each other a total of six times, with both nations winning twice and the other two matches finishing in draws.
  • Zambia are dedicating their performances in Equatorial Guinea to national team members that perished as a result of a tragic plane crash in 1993.
  • Libya's best performance at an Afcon was finishing as runners up in 1982. Zambia finished as second best on two occasions, once in 1974 and another in 1994.