Zambia secured a lone goal victory over Zimbabwe to go top of their group in a cagey affair at the Stade Umuganda in Monday’s 2016 CHAN group D opener.
Veteran midfielder Isaac Chansa was the hero, scoring the only goal to help Zambia to a lone goal victory over Zimbabwe in their Group D clash on Tuesday in Rubavu.
Chansa scored on 53 minutes to give the Chipolopolo a winning start to their campaign on their second appearance at the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.
Captain Christopher Katongo, who led Zambia to win their only Africa Cup of Nations title in 2012, brought his rich experience to bear on the team just as Chansa also a member of the victorious team.
Zimbabwe, making a record fourth appearance just as DR Congo thus failed to break the jinx of not having won an opening match at the CHAN competition.
It was a game of two halves, with Zimbabwe having the upperhand in the first and Zambia, the second.
The Southern African derby started with Zimbabwe, making incursions in the opening half and Ronald Chitiyo almost broke the deadlock on 12 minutes, but Zambia goalie Jacob Banda was up to the task.
The best moment however came just before half time but Warriors forward Edmore Chirambadare missed a sitter with only Banda at his mercy.
The Chipolopolo resumed stronger and Chansa broke the deadlock eight minutes after the break by connecting home a cross from the left.
Zimbabwe fought for the equalizer but the closest they came was Chirambadare’s acute shot on 71 minutes, which flew across the face of goal.
In the other fixture in group D, Uganda held Mali later at the same venue to a 2-2 draw with goals from Sinayoko and Koita for the Malians while Ochaya and Miya’s first half goals were all the Ugandans needed deny one of Africa’s powerhouse in football.