Zambia will be eyeing qualification to the knock-out stage from Group B of the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) when they come up against Ivory Coast at the Stade de Marrakech on Thursday.
They lead the group on goal difference from Namibia thanks to goals from Lazarous Kambole, Augustine Mulenga and Fackson Kapumbu following a 3-1 win over Uganda in their opening match on Sunday.
Third place Ivory Coast are still looking for their first points having lost to a late goal against Namibia, a situation which coach Wedson Nyirenda describes as dangerous for his team.
“It is very dangerous because on our part we have to fight the complacency and ensure that we do not underrate a team which lost their first match. Ivory Coast will be motivated by the fact that they are playing a team which is above them in the group and won emphatically against Uganda. That is a dangerous situation for us,” Nyirenda said.
He reckons that his team will go into the match as favourites, the tag which he said would put extra pressure on his men, but adds that it could all be overcome with the right approach on the field of play.
“We have set the tone in the group; we are leading the group because of the three goals which we scored. Therefore we are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. But we need to cushion that pressure with our own hard work. It is not going to be easy because Ivory Coast is a big team. Secondly, it is a team which is wounded,” he said, before adding that victory would ease the pressure on his team for their final group match against Namibia.
“After qualifying tomorrow (Thursday), I think for the next game it will not give us some pressure. The pressure, the heat, will come to us in the knock-out stage.”