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Chipolopolo fire early shots ahead of Zebras date

MQONDISI DUBE
Full gallop: The Zebras will look to dodge Zambia’s Copper Bullets PIC: BFA
If it were a football match, Zambia’s Copper Bullets would be 3-0 ahead against the Zebras.

The two are preparing for crucial back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.

On paper, Chipolopolo appear ahead, as they have fully utilised the FIFA international date, organising three friendly matches against Malawi, Kenya and South Africa.

The Zebras were unable to secure a friendly date, but managed to regroup on Sunday after a lengthy absence from the pitch.

Botswana suspended football activities in March in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Zebras sit third in the race to qualify for the re-arranged 2021 AFCON finals, which would now be held in 2022. Zambia are not leaving anything to chance, as they seek their first points in a group led by reigning champions, Algeria and also has neighbours, Zimbabwe.

Milutin ‘Micho’ Srejodevic is not resting on his laurels, despite COVID-19 causing havoc

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to all national sides’ preparations. On Wednesday, Zambia beat Malawi 1-0 in Lusaka, and tonight (Friday) they play Kenya before facing Bafana Bafana on Sunday. While Chipolopolo were sweating it out in Lusaka, across the Zambezi, the Zebras were also going through their paces.

The national side assembled on Sunday and underwent COVID-19 tests. Botswana Football Association (BFA) marketing and public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane said the government paid for the tests.

Adel Amrouche had wanted to take the team to Qatar, but COVID-19 disrupted plans. He is likely to face Zambia without an international friendly match.

Amrouche has named a largely fresh side, discarding some of the tried and trusted lieutenants. Amrouche is still to return from Belgium. Foreign-based players are expected to undergo quarantine before joining the squad.



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