With four goals in four consecutive matches for the bullets, The Sheriff will be stepping into the hostile territory of Maputo in full riot gear hoping to stop the Mozambican sabotage in a battle that now looks difficult to predict.
Since the last Afcon qualifier where Zambia’s boat to Cameroon was left wrecked and stuck along the coast of Guinea in a 2-1 defeat, Only two players have scored for their respective clubs: Rainford Kalaba and Shonga. The rest have struggled for form and game time.
Getting into some unfriendly territory like Maputo with such a record is a thought that sends cold chills in every spine of every Zambian as the confidence Zambians have in this Svens team keep hitting rock bottom: the faith in Vandenbroek keeps fighting for life in the Intensive Care Unit in need of a miracle.
The head to head record puts Zambia as favourites to beat Mozambique but the memories of that late goal which gave Mozambique all the three points in Ndola keep ringing loud and creepy.
As Zambia keeps the hunt for a ticket to Cameroon, it’s now eminent that all hopes of a nation are left hanging on the shoulders of Justin Shonga the Sheriff. Shonga had recently been put on the knife edge of cut throat criticism by the Bucaneers faithfuls for his poor form in front of goal. He kept on failing to convert clear cut seaters but his pinpoint set piece against Kaizer chiefs was all he needed to keep a Nation Believing.
The Orlando Pirates hit man is undoubtedly a grenade awaiting explosion if not handled with care in Maputo. His eye for the goal marks him down as one to watch this Sunday as his technique on dead ball situations might be such a weapon of mass destruction in Vandenbroek’s hands.
The Sheriff has mastered the art of wrapping his right foot round the ball with viper venom given an opportunity for a set piece.
He hits the dead ball with such skill and swagger, breathing life into it then he stands to watch it wickedly swing into the net. Going forward, he has grown wheels under his feet and his blistering pace if put to effective use can cause so much havoc in Mozambique .
His performances in the last three matches for Chipolopolo has raised such a high bar. He has turn on our hopes and the pressure is on him to prove that he can be trusted. Patson Daka and Brian Mwila raised such hopes but who now even remembers when they last scored for Zambia?
Zambia lies fourth on the table and now needs nothing less than three points to revive their chances of qualifying for the Nations cup in Cameroon next year.