AFCON 2024 – Zambia: Squad, group, fixtures and opponents

Under the guidance of Avram Grant, Zambia are at Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024).

In this article, we'll provide you with all the information you need to know about the Chipolopolos.

This year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.

AFCON 2024: Zambia's team schedule

Zambia's opponents in Group F are DR Congo, Tanzania, and Morocco.

The Chipolopolos will play their three group stage matches at the Laurent Pokou Stadium (20,000 seats) in San-Pédro, Côte d'Ivoire.

  • January 17, 9:00 PM: DR Congo vs. Zambia, Laurent Pokou Stadium
  • January 21, 6:00 PM: Zambia vs. Tanzania, Laurent Pokou Stadium
  • January 24, 9:00 PM: Zambia vs. Morocco, Laurent Pokou Stadium

How Zambia qualified for AFCON 2024?

In the qualifying Group H for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia finished in first place with 13 points. The Chipolopolos secured four victories, one draw, and one defeat.

  • Matchday 1: Ivory Coast 3-1 Zambia
  • Matchday 2: Zambia 2-1 Comoros
  • Matchday 3: Zambia 3-1 Lesotho
  • Matchday 4: Lesotho 0-2 Zambia
  • Matchday 5: Zambia 3-0 Ivory Coast
  • Matchday 6: Comoros 1-1 Zambia

Zambia's last ten matches before AFCON 2024

  • Niger 2-1 Zambia – 2026 World Cup qualifiers
  • Zambia 4-2 Congo – 2026 World Cup qualifiers
  • Zambia 3-0 Uganda – Friendly
  • Egypt 1-0 Zambia – Friendly
  • Comoros 1-1 Zambia – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Zambia 3-0 Ivory Coast – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Kuwait 0-3 Zambia – Friendly
  • Lesotho 0-2 Zambia – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Zambia 3-1 Lesotho – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Israel 4-2 Zambia – Friendly

Zambia: Nine years later

Zambia hadn't participated in the AFCON since the 2015 edition (nine years ago), which ended with an elimination in the first round, similar to 2013. However, the 2012 edition, under the guidance of Hervé Renard, was a remarkable success as the Chipolopolos claimed the ultimate victory. It was an unexpected and historic triumph that brought joy to the entire nation.

After nearly a decade away from the continental stage, it would be presumptuous to say that Grant's troops aim to replicate the 2012 feat. But putting up a good performance in a tough group is still possible, provided they are at 100% and perhaps with a stroke of luck to qualify for the knockout stage.

The road is long, but certain results, like the resounding 3-0 win against Ivory Coast during the AFCON qualifiers, offer hope. Could this pave the way for the Chipolopolos to be the surprise package?

Zambia's coach: Avram Grant

Avram Grant (68 years old), born in Israel and with Polish nationality, doesn't have a high-level playing background but boasts extensive coaching experience. Initially a coach in his country (Hapoël Petah-Tikvah, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoël Haïfa) before taking charge of the Israeli national team (2002-2006), he then headed to England.

His tenure at Chelsea during the 2007-2008 season was notably marked by a lost Champions League final and an unofficial runner-up title in England. He also had stints at Portsmouth and West Ham before briefly being in Serbia at Partizan Belgrade in 2012. He then managed the Ghanaian national team (2014-2017), leading them to the final of AFCON 2015.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Appointed in December 2022 as the head of the Chipolopolos, he returned to African soil a year ago after a lengthy spell at the Indian club NorthEast United (2018-2022). His club experience, nearly reaching the pinnacle in 2008, and his 2015 journey with the Black Stars will undoubtedly benefit the Zambian squad in this 2024 AFCON.

So far, his tenure has been a success as he managed to bring Zambia back into the spotlight with the qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations. Now, the challenge remains to put up a good performance and perhaps relive an adventure like twelve years ago, aiming to erase past disappointments (2008, 2013, 2015).

Player to watch at AFCON 2023 – Patson Daka

The 25-year-old Leicester City forward started the season in the shadow of Jamie Vardy and Super Eagle Kelechi Iheanacho. However, with four goals in his last four starts in the Championship (seven appearances in total this season), the 1.83-meter striker has regained favour with fans and Leicester's management, who no longer necessarily expect him to leave in the winter transfer window.

Scoring 10 goals in 52 Premier League appearances over the past two seasons, Patson Daka has always been ahead of his time. Hervé Renard, known for his visionary coaching, gave him a chance when he was coaching Zambia.

Patson was just 16 when he earned his first cap on May 10, 2015, in a friendly match against Malawi (a 2-0 victory). In the same year, he participated in the COSAFA Cup. However, he had to wait over two years to score his first goal for the national team.

It came on September 5, 2017, against Algeria (0-1) in a World Cup 2018 qualifying match. He now boasts 29 caps and 8 goals for the Chipolopolos, leading the attack in this CAN in Côte d'Ivoire.

Daka, previously linked to AS Monaco last summer, isn't just good at breaking records related to his early career. He is also a trailblazer! He was the first Zambian footballer to score a goal in a Champions League match.

The player, then with Salzburg in Austria, marked his name on the scoreboard on November 27, 2019, in a visit to Genk (1-4).

Zambia team: AFCON 2024 preparation program

Zambia prepared in Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah. An exhibition match was scheduled for January 9 against Cameroon.

Zambia's final squad list for AFCON 2024

Goalkeepers

Toaster Nsabata (Zesco Utd/Zambia), Lawrence Mulenga (Kabwe/Zambia), Francis Mwensa (Green Buffaloes/Zambia)

Defenders

Benedict Chepashi (Red Arrows), Stopila Sunzu (Jinan Xingzhou/China), Gift Mphande (Hapoel Rishon/Israel), Changa Chaiwa (Young Boys/Switzerland), Dominic Chanda (Dynamos/Zimbabwe), Rodrick Kabwe (Zakho/Iraq), Zephaniah Phiri (Leopards FC/Kenya), Tandi Mwape (Tp Mazambe/Democratic Republic of Congo), Frankie Musonda (Ayr/Scotland)

Midfielders

Kings Kangwa (Belgrade/Serbia), Clatous Chama (Simba SC/Tanzania), Benson Sakala (Boleslav/Czech Republic), Emmanuel Benda (Roeka), Rally Bwalya (Sekhukhune/South Africa), Golden Mafwenta (Mfk Vyskov/Czech Republic), Lubambo Musonda (Silkeborg/Denmark), Fredrick Mulambia (Dynamos/Zimbabwe), Kel Vin Kampumbu (Zanaco/Zambia), Kel Vin Kampumbu (Zesco UTD/ Zambia)

Forwards

Fashion Sakala (Al-Feiha/Saudi Arabia), Lameck Banda (Lecce/Italy), Kennedy Musonda (Young Africans/Tanzania), Edward Chilfuya (BK Hacken/Sweden), Patson Daka (Leicester City/England).”

AFCON 2024 – Zambia: Squad, group, fixtures and opponents
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.