Zambia gave Egypt a run for their money despite going down 2-0 in an international friendly maplayed at the Military Academy Stadium in Cairo on Thursday.
It was a match of two halves where the home side were dominant in the first but the visitors were on top in the second.
Egypt settled early taking the game to the Zambia in the opening exchanges and their pressure paid off when Mohammed Abutrika floated a long pass from midfield to Mohamed Salah who in turn squared the ball for Amr Zaki to tap home from inside the box in the 12th minute.
Zambia were punished again ten minutes later when a flicked header by Zaki from a free kick fell in the path of an unmarked Rami Rabiea who found enough time to turn and direct his effort on goal without being closed down by the defence.
Zambia’s chances in the first half fell to Stopilla Sunzu and Felix Katongo following good link up play with Bruce Musakanya and Rodger Kola.
At the break, Zambia introduced Emmanuel Mayuka and Noah Chivuta replacing Fwayo Tembo and Bruce Musakanya repectively. The change in personnel brought impact as Zambia looked more organised and pressed Egypt in their defensive half for long periods.
Egypt continued to absorb the pressure and occasionally got forward on the counter attack using the wings. Their tactics shifted to defending in numbers and playing long balls for Gedo, Zaki and Salah to chase while Zambia were more effective with their short passing despite goals eluding them.
Chisamba Lungu was Zambia’s creative player in midfield and it was him who fed Emmanuel Mayuka with passes when the latter came close to scoring twice only to see his efforts from close range parried behind for corner kicks by El-Shennawy in goal for Egypt.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Kalusha Bwalya said the match was good practice away from home.
“We started slowly but finished strongly. Egypt needed this game as they face a tough match against Ghana. Zambia has to continue finding its rhythm. We always have to play such matches,” said the FAZ Chief
Kalusha’s comments were echoed by FAZ Vice President Boniface Mwamelo who was the leader of the delegation in Egypt.
“We played very well in the second half. The only difference is that Egypt were more clinical and capitalised on our two mistakes in the first half,” Mwamelo said.