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Chipolopolo disappoint referee

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Ali Mohammed Sombé Adelaide.

Zambia’S footballing shame was yesterday extended to “generous” Comoros referee Ali Mohammed Sombé Adelaide. Despite the shambolic performance of defenders Kabaso Chongo and Adrian Chama, Ali probably in appreciation of Zambia’s hospitality tried his best to rescue the team from total humiliation. Not even the heroics of newly-married juvenile Enock Mwepu was enough to rescue the situation.

Facing an Algerian team without stars like Mehrez, Chipolopolo fell 1-nill down to a right foot strike by little-known Ghezal in the 19th minute and before they could know what had hit them, a left foot from Islam Slimani compounded Zambia’s woes.

However, Ali could not withstand his host’s humiliation and awarded Zambia the softest of penalties which Patson Daka converted to ensure Zambia went into the halftime dressing room with a decent scoreline.

Michos ensemble of underachievers from the dressing room looking confident and fans were fooled that they were now serious when Clotous Chama’s head did something useful with a header into the goal to restore parity.

But before the fans could even separate their palms from clapping, Slimani again struck from shameful defending by Chongo and company.

Noticing that Zambia had again pressed the self-destruction button, Ali for the good Muslim he is, again stepped in and when an Algerian player sneezed in Moses Phiri’s path, Zambia were again gifted another penalty which Daka again converted to restore parity once more.

Zambia, like a steam train huffed and puffed but everytime looked like leaking in another goal from Algeria.

By the 87th minute when Daka lobbed in a ball into the net, Referee Ali’s bag of generosity was empty and allowed his linesman’s offside decision to stay.
The Chipolopolo who were drenched in litres of sweat from chasing Algerians around the pitch, staggered off to the dressing room as their fate of missing Afcon once again was sealed.

This will be the third time in a roll that Zambia will be missing at the African Cup of Nations having last appeared in 2013. Disappointed at the Chipolopolo’s ingratitude for his favours, Ali did not even want to look at the Green Shame twice as he left the pitch.

In Group H, Algeria and Zimbabwe have now secured a slot at the byannual football show piece while Zambia and neighboring Botswana continue to be jinxed by rotten soccer luck.
Zambia face Zimbabwe in a formality game on Monday but Marketeers at Soweto Market are up in arms saying resources meant for the players’ salaries and logistics should be channelled to the import of onion which are in short supply.

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