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Zambia fans upbeat about qualification to World Cup finals

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Lusaka (Zambia): Football fans in Zambia said the national team’s back-to-back wins over Algeria in World Cup qualifier matches have revived the country’s chances of making a maiden appearance at the World Cup finals.

The country’s football team revived hopes of making the finals of the World Cup in Russia next year on Tuesday night as they secured a second win over Algeria in Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine province, east of Algiers in the Group B qualifiers, reports Xinhua news agency.

The win comes after the team beat Algeria 3-1 in the first leg match played on September 2.

Striker Patson Daka scored a sole goal to reinforce Zambia’s second position in the group with 7 points, only 3 points away from top spot Nigeria who have 10 points while Cameroon and Algeria have 3 points and 1 point respectively.

“As soccer fans, we are happy that the team has brought glory to our dwindling soccer fortunes with that win. Beating Algeria at their own turf was not an easy thing and we are just looking forward to the next game to seal our place in the finals,” Lawrence Bwalya, a fan from Lusaka said.

Rabson Tembo, another soccer fan said the inclusion of under-20 national team players has boosted the senior team’s performance in the last two matches against Algeria where the junior players scored and impressed with their performance.

“I hope our coach has now seen why we were crying for the inclusion of our under-20 boys and we are urging him to call more boys from the under-20 team,” he said.

Crispin Simwinga said the win over Algeria may have sent shivers on Nigeria whom the team will meet in the next round of qualifications.

Luke Mbewe, a soccer analyst said the back-to-back wins have reaffirmed that the country was back in contention for qualification to Russia and have given a clear indication that the team was ready to fight for a place.

He however said the technical bench needed to work on certain areas in the team such as the defense before the next two games.

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions will travel to Nigeria in the next round scheduled for early October while Algeria travels to face Cameroon.

The team started the qualifying campaigns on a poor note by losing at home to Nigeria before drawing with Cameroon away.

IANS

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