Zambia’s 2014 World Cup qualifying opening match blew into flames as the African champions were defeated 2-0 by Sudan to send shock waves in their aspirations for a maiden sport at the globe’s biggest sporting event.
Their fellow Group D favourites, Ghana, started the race on a healthy note winning handsomely by demolishing Lesotho 7-0 on Friday.
Both Zambia and Ghana meet in Ndola on Saturday in their chase for a place at the World Cup billed for Brazil.
The Zambian team, a darling of African football just six months ago, was a pale shadow of its status failing to co-ordinate the game and allowed Sudan to take control of proceedings on Saturday evening.
Sudan’s Mohammed Tahir scored twice in the 49th and 72nd minutes to grant the Sudanese a good start to their campaign.
The result gives Zambia pressure to win their home match against the Blacks Stars of Ghana at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Ghana are already in South Africa to start a residential camp which will last four days before they connect to Zambia on Thursday where they will continue preparing until Sunday when the two teams face-off.
There is only one change to the Ghanaian team with Isaac Vorsah who was suspended for the Lesotho match making it in the traveling contingent at the expense of Daniel Addo.
Ghana are topping Group D with Sudan on three points and enjoy a superior goal difference while Zambia is third with Lesotho in bottom fourth place.
Ghana traveling team:
Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals), Ernest Sowah (Berekum Chelsea).
Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Richard Kissi Boateng (Berekum Chelsea), John Boye (Rennes, France), Lee Addy (Dalian Aerbin, China), Jerry Akaminko (Manisaspor, Turkey), Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim, Germany).
Midfielders: Anthony Annan (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands), Derek Boateng (Dnipro, Ukraine), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Richard Mpong (Medema) Christian Atsu (Rio Ave, Portugal), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese, Italy).
Forwards: Jordan Ayew (Marseille, France), Dominic Adiyiah (Arsenal Kyiv, Ukraine), Ben Acheampong (Kotoko), Emmanuel Clottey (Berekum Chelsea).