GOALKEEPER LAWRENCE MULENGA PRAISED FOR HIS PERFORMANCE, SET TO KEEP HIS PLACE AGAINST TANZANIA
Chipolopolo Boys goalkeeper Lawrence Mulenga has been praised for his performance in Zambia’s opening Africa Cup of Nations match against the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is poised to keep his place between the sticks for Sunday’s clash against Tanzania.
Coach Avram Grant named three goalkeepers in his squad for the tournament, with all three lacking regular playing time at their respective clubs in recent months. There were questions on who would be named as the goalkeeper for their opening match, but Mulenga, the Power Dynamos shot-stopper, was given the nod ahead of Green Buffaloes’s Francis Mwansa and Zesco United’s Toasta Nsabata.
He justified Grant’s faith with a string of five crucial saves against a high-flying Congolese side in a 1-1 draw, and has continued to receive praise, with the latest coming from former Chipolopolo goalkeeper Kalililo Kakonje.
“Lawrence Mulenga was okay considering he is a debutant at the AFCON tournament,” Kakonje said. “This is a very big tournament. It is not like any other tournaments so for me I think he did well and hopefully he will pick up and grow from there. He had one or two lapses but we have an able technical bench that can take care of that and I think he has played enough local and international games apart from the big stage we are talking about so for starters I think he is okay and hopefully he grows from there.”
Kakonje, who was part of the Zambia team that made history in 2012 by winning the Africa Cup of Nations speaking to Micheal Miyoba feels that Group F of this year’s tournament remains open going into match day two.
“The Group is still very open,” he said. “We have two teams seating on one point each, one goal each and we have one team seating on three points and three goals and one team seating on zero points so for me the group is still very open.”
However, he was quick to encourage Zambia to work hard going forward and aim for glory.
“We need to dig deep and work hard if we have to go through to the knockout stage,” he said.
Zambia and Tanzania will battle it out on Sunday, with kick-off set for 19:00 Zambian time.