Toaster Nsabata @ SS com
Toaster Nsabata @ SS com

Nsabata’s heroics send Zambia to Senegal

Goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata was the hero as the Zambia U23 men’s national football team qualified to the 2015 Caf U-23 Championship following a dramatic 4 – 3 win on post-match penalties to eliminate Ivory Coast at Nkoloma Stadium on Saturday.

The tie was decided on penalties after the two sides played out goalless draws over two legs.

Zambia’s spot kicks were converted by Jack Chirwa, Benedict Chepeshi, Solomon Sakala and Patson Daka with Ronald Kampamba, Charles Zulu and Benson Sakala all missing theirs.

On his part, goalkeeper Nsabata saved Abdel Diarra’s effort before he repeated the feat to keep out Yao Serge’s effort after Roger Assale, Jean Ahoulou and Habib Maiga had converted their efforts for the visitors.

Both Souleymane Coulibaly and Yannick Kessie skied their spot kicks for the visitors.

On saving Yao’s penalty Nsabata said: “Our aim was to go to Senegal so after Patson Daka scored his penalty I took it upon myself to do my part. I remembered what coach (Mike) Poto said to us in training when we practiced penalties.

“I focused on the Ivorian player (Yao Serge) as he collected the ball, he was not composed; so I became confident that I would save the penalty.

“When he kicked the ball, I dived in the right direction and punched it away. At that point I knew we had qualified so I started to celebrate,” he said.

Zambia joins Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia and hosts Senegal at the continental showpiece scheduled to start on November 28.

Nigeria and Mali are favourites to complete the line up of qualified teams on Sunday having won their first legs against Congo and Gabon respectively.