Libya desperately need a win in this clash after the shock defeat to hosts Equatorial Guinea, but that will be no easy task given that Zambia have proved their worth by beating Senegal in their opening game. The Chipolopolo can clinch their place in the next round with a win in this match, so they, too, are going for a win, that’s for sure.
Libya in problems
Libya had always been regarded as one of the weakest national teams in Africa, and they have done little to shake off the unfavourable tag over the last few years. They somehow managed to qualify for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, but ended their campaign in group stage, after taking just one point from three games. The 2012 AFCON draw saw placed them in the same group as Zambia, Mozambique and Comoros, and despite finishing in second place behind Zambia, Libya qualified for the final tournament. Marcos Paqueta’s side were pretty disappointing in the build up to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, having shared spoils with Palestine and Jordan at Pan Arab Games, while losing to Ivory Coast in the final warm-up games. Libya then suffered a big blow as they were beaten by hosts Equatorial Guinea in the opening game of 2012 AFCON, and after losing to one of the weakest side in the tournament, they cannot be trusted to get anything from the match against very good Zambia side.
Boss Marcos Paqueta has fully fit squad to choose from, but that is no major feat as Libya clearly lack the quality to match the Chipolopolo.
Excellent performance from Zambia
Zambia have been showing a lot of potential over the last few years, especially Herve Renard was at the helm. The talented manager led the Chipolopolo to the 2010 AFCON quarter-finals, where his team suffered an unlucky defeat on penalties to Nigeria, so needless to say everybody around the national team was delighted when Renard agreed to return for the second spell in October 2011. Zambia have since enjoyed mixed success in the friendly games, but the team entered the 2012 AFCON well prepared and in great spirits, so I was definitely not surprised by the brilliant showing and an invaluable victory over group favourites Senegal in their opening game. The Chipolopolo can now ensure their place in the quarter-finals by beating Libya, so I have no doubts they will take this game very seriously and produce another scintillating performance.
With no fresh injuries to report, Herve Renard is expected to field the same side that started the Senegal game.
Having lost to arguably the weakest side at the tournament, Libya have little to hope for before the game against very good Zambia side. The Chipolopolo are boosted by the impressive display against Senegal and they should have enough in them to win this game as well.
Our prediction: Away win
Odds: 2.05 (21/20)
Bookmaker: Stan James