Zambian defender, Frankie Musonda believes Chipolopolo have what it takes to do well in a very difficult TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 Group F consisting of Morocco, DR Congo and Tanzania.
Champions of the 2012 edition in Gabon after defeating this year’s hosts, Cote d’Ivoire in a dramatic penalty final, Chipolopolo find themselves in a dicey group that requires nerves of steel to advance further.
Musonda, who recently recovered from an ankle injury sustained on duty at his Scottish club, Ayr United said he was excited to be back in the squad and believed in the team’s potential of doing well at Africa’s greatest football showpiece set to take place between 13 January – 11 February.
“I am really excited. I was unfortunate to get injured just before October and it carried on into November so I missed out but I’ve been back for six, seven weeks now and I feel good and excited to be part of the team and to be in camp”, said the 26-year-old defender.
“We travel very far so first and foremost; I just want to recover and also work tactically with the manager and tactical team and coaching staff so it should be good preparation ahead of the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire”, commented the defender from their training camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The former champions are currently in Jeddah for their preparation camp and will wrap up their preparations with a friendly match against five-time champions, Cameroon before jetting off to Cote d’Ivoire on Monday, 11 January.
Commenting on the competitiveness of the group, the hard-tackling defender said all teams that had qualified for the tournament, including Zambia were good enough to win any match.
“It’s a very exciting group with tough opponents who qualified for this stage of the tournament. Everyone is a good team. Each game will be tough but, again we believe that each game we can win so I am very excited, and we just have to concentrate” concluded Musonda.
Chipolopolo kick off their Group F campaign with a clash against DR Congo at San Pedro’s Stade Laurent Pokou on Wednesday, 17 January.
Zambia’s Performance at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
- This is Zambia’s 18th appearance at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, their first since 2015. Chipolopolo won the title in 2012, beating Côte d’Ivoire on penalties after a goalless final.
- Six of Zambia’s last seven matches at the TotalEnergies AFCON have ended in a draw (L1). Their last victory at the tournament dates back to 2012, winning 1-0 against Ghana in the semi-finals before beating Côte d’Ivoire on penalties in the final (0-0, 8-7 pens).
- Zambia are unbeaten in their last five opening matches at the TotalEnergies AFCON (W2 D3). The last time they lost their first match in an edition of the tournament was in 2006 (1-4 v Tunisia).
- Patson Daka scored 42% of Zambia’s goals in the qualifiers for this year’s edition (5 out of 12). He made his international debut for Chipolopolo four months after Zambia’s last appearance in 2015.
- This is Avram Grant’s third TotalEnergies AFCON as manager. He led Ghana to second place in 2015 and fourth place in 2017.