There was joy and disappointment in equal measure for the COSAFA sides competing at the 2016 African Nations Championship this weekend.
Zambia claimed a quarterfinal spot with a game to spare, but Zimbabwe have exited the competition after a second successive loss.
Chris Katongo scored the only goal as Zambia defeated Uganda 1-0 to ensure Chipolopolo would play in the knockout stages.
Zambia have six points from their two matches and now cannot finish lower than second in Group D. They need just a point from their final game against Mali on Wednesday to ensure top spot.
“Obviously we are delighted for the Chipolopolo,” Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya said. “It’s a fantastic result for the boys and nation. Congratulations to coach [George] Lwandamina for a very improved performance and qualification to the quarter finals. I can’t remember the last time Zambia went through after two games in competition.
“It’s credit to the growing team spirit. Going into the last group match and the knock out rounds, we must work hard to maintain this resurgence of our players and team.”
Zimbabwe’s 1-0 loss to Mali at the weekend means they have still to gain a point in the competition and are out of contention for a place in the quarterfinals.
Their last fixture is against Uganda on Wednesday.