The Zambia Football Federation has elected to bring down gate fees for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match against the Super Eagles of Nigeria. This is with a view to elicit maximum capacity attendance to provide support for the Chipolopolo as they kick off their campaign on home ground.
The Football Association of Zambia reportedly announced gate charges as low as 25 Kwacha, less than Nigeria’s Naira, for a section of the popular side and the highest charge of 500 Kwacha for the VIP section.
The decision, according to reports is in a bid to fill up the 49,800 capacity Estadio de la Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, venue of the game and create enough buzz to hopefully intimidate the Super Eagles.
The Mwasawana Stadium, named after Zambia’s third president, entertained its first official international match on 9 June 2012 when the Chipolopolo pipped Ghana’s Black Stars 1-0 in a similar World Cup qualifier.
Tickets came on sales on Tuesday afternoon at a couple of centres in Lusaka and Kabwe.
Already the acting Head Coach of the Zambian national team, Wedson Nyirenda, has concluded on his squad for the match composed of 14 home based players and nine foreign professionals in the 23 man squad.
Nyerinda had early invited 25 players from the domestic football league for observation and finally dropped 11 of them last Sunday to make way for the foreign invitees which includes Stoppila Sunzu, Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama’s team mate at Lille, France, and Chisamba Lungu who plies his trade in Russia.
The other foreign inputs are mostly from clubs in South Africa and Congo’s TP Mazembe, winners of the 2015 CAF Champions League. They include Collins Mbesuna of Highlands Park, Lewis Macha of Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa in the attack to be completed by Winston Kalengo of Congo’s AC Leopard and Jackson Mwanza of home club Zesco.
The Chipolopolo midfield also lists Rainford Kalaba and Nathan Sinkala of TP Mazembe joining the Zesco trio of Kondwani Ntonga, Clatus Chama and John Ching’andu. Power Dynamos Fwayo Tembo and Rodrick Kabwe of Zanaco are also listed in the midfield.
The Chipolopolo defence will pick from Kabaso Chongo (TP Mazembe/DRC), Stoppila Sunzu (Lille /FRA), Simon Silwamba (Zesco United) , George Chilufya (Zanaco) , Adrian Chama (Green Buffaloes), Ziyo Tembo (Zanaco), Fackson Kapumbu (Zanaco) and Lawrence Chungu (Power Dynamos) while the three goalkeepers are Jacob Banda (Zesco United), Allan Chibwe (Power Dynamos), Kennedy Mweene (Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA).
The referees for the very crucial encounter have been chosen from Egypt. They are led by Ghead Grisha who incidentally was the centre referee at the South Africa 2013 AFCON 1-1 clash between same Zambia and Nigeria in Nelspruit. He is to be assisted by Tahssen Abo El Sadat Bedyer (assistant referee 1), Ahmed Hossameld Taha (assistant referee 2) and Ibrahim Noureldin (fourth official).