WC QUALIFIERS: Taifa Stars stun Zambia

NDOLA, ZAMBIA: Taifa Stars increased their chances to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026 after a 1-0 win over Zambia at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia yesterday.

Waziri Junior netted the solitary goal to award his side a befitting triumph at a wellattended venue thanks to a committed performance from the visitors.

It was Taifa Stars’ second win in the competition and have since collected six points from three matches to move to second place in Group E of the qualifiers.

The game kicked off on the front pedal with both sides exploring early scoring opportunities and the hosts had the best chance in the 2nd minute but Kings Kangwa’s header went off the target.

Three minutes later, Tanzania seized the lead courtesy of Waziri Junior who received a sweet pass from Mudathir Yahya to put his side ahead.

The goal helped to boost the Stars’ confidence in the match ensuring that they minimized mistakes to contain Chipolopolo who were eager to level the deficit before halftime.

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In the 19th minute, Patson Daka saw his powerful header well saved by Taifa Stars keeper Ally Salum which was Zambia’s first shot on target for Avram Grant’s side.

Daka, who plays for Leicester City was once again in the spotlight in the 38th minute when another opportunity went begging for Zambia as most of their fans were at the edge of their seats ready to celebrate.

Stars goalie, Salum made another spectacular save in the closing stages of the first half to deny a set-piece from Kangwa as the hosts were searching for a password to unlock the visitors’ defence.

As the whistle to break the first half sounded, it was Taifa Stars who enjoyed the lion’s share of the thrilling encounter which they deservedly controlled.

At restart, Yahya who provided the timely assist was substituted for Adolf Bitegeko, the first substitution for coach Hemed Suleiman.

A few minutes later, veteran midfielder Himid Mao was also benched for Abdul Hamisi ‘Sopu’ as the former picked an injury worth resting.

For Zambia, their first substitution came in the 67th minute when Kennedy Musonda and Kelvin Kampamba were introduced for Emmanuel Banda and Edwin Chirufya.

However, in terms of the latest FIFA Rankings, Zambia are placed in the 86th slot whereas Tanzania accomodate 119th place.

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