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Zambia Target Good AFCON Qualifier Start

Zambia start their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying campaign against Ivory Coast on Friday at the Stade de Yamoussoukro.

The visitors will be targeting a good start in the campaign as they struggle to qualify for Africa’s biggest football showpiece which has eluded them since 2015.

England-based striker Enock ‘Computer’ Mwepu is expected to lead the team against an Ivory Coast side that will be without some of their key players due to injuries.

“Football is not played because of names, first of all, football is about teamwork, I think we have a good squad that can compete at any level,” Mwepu, who turns out for Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion told FAZ media.

Zambia coach Aljosa Asanovic has stated that his charges have prepared well for the match and they will go for points away  in Ivory Coast.

Asanovic hinted they will have to be very tight at the back, but also make sure they take their chances at goal because it is always good to start such a campaign with a good win.

Leicester City forward Fashion Sakala is expected to play a key role for the Chipolopolo together with Scotland-based Fahion Sakala and Mwepu.

Ivory Coast head into the qualifiers as one of the most decorated nations in the continent with two Africa Cup of Nations wins.

The Elephants are under a new coach Frenchman Jean-Louis Gasse who was appointed at the end of May.

Gasse will be without the services of  four experienced players namely Eric Bailly, Nicolas Pépé, Maxwel Cornet and Odilon Kossounou ,who have all been declared off-campaign for various reasons.

Zambia have enjoyed a vastly superior record over Ivory Coast with the West Africans only managing two wins over Zambia in the past 48 years, while the South Africans have won two of their last five meetings between the two sides.

Comoros welcome Lesotho in the weekends other Group H encounter.

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