Mozambique has never beaten Zambia at any level, and Mambas coach Abel Xavier is hoping to break the jinx in their Group K Day One clash away in Ndola on Saturday.
Xavier has belief in the current Mambas squad to rewrite the history books by snatching the maximum points off the Chipolopolo, and bolster their chances of making next year’s the final tournament in Cameroon in 2019.
In 24 meetings against the Chipolopolo, four have ended in stalemates with 20 victories in favour of the Zambians.
We are coming to compete. We know in the past Zambia has been a great opponent but we have to consider that the past is the past, and we are focused on the present, Xavier told CAFOnline.com in Ndola upon the Mambas arrival for the opening clash of the qualifiers.
Xavier, in his second year at the helm, said he is also looking forward to facing his friend and colleague Wedson Nyirenda, now in of Zambia.
The two coaches are familiar with each other after sharing notes during Nyirenda’s stint at Mozambican champions Ferroviario Beira last season before his Chipolopolo appointment last September.
Zambia has a new set-up. We also have a new setup and different conditions and we are very optimistic and we can compete at the highest level, said Xavier.
The ex-Liverpool defender added that Mozambique were determined to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2010.
The home fans will be a factor but we expect an exciting game. We don’t fear Zambia but we respect them.
The recent results are just statistics but we need to cope with the best and I am pretty much sure we will impose our game with the developments that we have made in this short time.
I have a lot of experience and my people are very emotional and want results very fast. But I think when you want to achieve things, they are stages.
It is a strong group all the teams are strong and Mozambique will compete to qualify in this group.
I have young players and I believe we can get the results with a different methodology I am imparting with young players who want to go to a big tournament, added Xavier.
Guinea Bissau will face Namibia in other Group K clash in Bissau also on Saturday.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football