African champions Zambia effectively begin their title defence against the Cranes of Uganda in a final qualification round fixture which the FAZ president has described as tough.
“It was a tough draw. We didn’t expect anything less. As African champions, Zambia is the team to beat and all the teams across the continent will come to us with all they’ve got,” Football Association of Zambia President Kalusha Bwalya told fazfootball.com.
“But we know who we are and what we can do as a team,” added the 1988 African Footballer of the Year who is also CAF Executive Committee member.
African kings Chipolopolo were drawn against the Cranes in a ceremony in Johannesburg last night.
The winners of the 2012 Africa Cup will be at home in the first leg on Saturday 8th September and play away in Kampala in the return and final leg on Sunday 14 October.
The winner of the fixture joins hosts South Africa and the other victors from 14 other qualifiers for Africa’s biggest soccer bonanza next January. The 2013 Nations Cup finals kickoff on 19th January at Soccer City with the final match also scheduled for Johannesburg on 10th February.
Kalusha believes that even with the challenge of Uganda, Zambia will look forward with cautious optimism and work hard to ensure that the “Chipolopolo maintains its growth as a continental powerhouse.”
“Through and through, we have embraced the values of consistency, humility and hard work. These have proved to be pillars of our success and we shall continue on that path,” the FAZ chief said adding: “I trust that Herve Renard will be spot on how we approach the Uganda match.”