Zambia beat Burundi 1-0 in their penultimate 2013 Cecafa Cup Group B game in Nairobi Sunday to hand coach Patrice Beaumelle his first win in charge.
The win lifts Zambia to joint leadership in Group B on four points, level with Tanzania who also won by the same margin over bottom placed Somalia.
It wasn’t plain sailing for Zambia against a plucky Burundi who they had never beaten in their previous three meetings that all finished in stalemates.
Zambia started strongly out-passing Burundi but despite their dominance, the same could not be said about the quality in attack.
Striker Bornwell Mwape who was starting in place of Festus Mbewe was put through by Kabaso Chongo in the 11th minute but failed to read the TP Mazembe defenders delivery.
Zambia were lucky not to have gone a goal down in the 23rd minute when Abdul Fiston’s scissors kick came off the horizontal with goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata beaten.
Burundi then had Arthur Arakaza to thank in the 41st minute when Felix Katongo slipped through the defence but the goalkeeper cut the angle of the Zambia playmakers chip to deny the guest team a goal before the two sides went scoreless into the break.
Arakaza was again tested in the 59th minute from a Bornwell Mwape long range effort that he picked out with easy.
That was to be Mwape’s last contribution and two minutes later he made way for Nkana striker Mbewe.
And it took just six minutes for Mbewe to break the deadlock after the unmarked Nkana striker finished off a Katongo cross from close range to stun Burundi.
Zambia could have added a second in the 75th minute after Roderick Kabwe sent in a fine cross into the area but Mbewe and Ronald Kampamba, who had a quiet day, all failed to tap in the ball with Arakaza nowhere in sight.
Meanwhile, the win brings to an end coach Beaumelle’s four match draught that has seen him pick up three defeats and a draw since taking over in October.
Zambia face Somalia in their final Group B match on December 4 in Nairobi.