Iraq secured a 3-1 win over Zambia in an international friendly that took place at Al Madina Stadium in Baghdad on Friday, as Aljosa Asanovic got off to a losing start as Chipolopolo head coach.
The Asian nation took the lead in the 11th minute when Ishmael Dawood broke the deadlock with a penalty. They doubled their lead in the 23rd minute when Ahmad Ibrahim – with an assist from Amjad Attwan – scored to complicate matters for the former African champions.
However, Chipolopolo scored at the half-hour mark to bridge the gap through a set-piece. Saad Natiq turned the ball into his own net when he attempted to clear a free-kick delivered by Albert Kangwanda.
As the second half began, Zambia head coach Asanovic made two changes as he introduced Kelvin Kampamba and Alex Ngonga for Joshua Mutale and Kangwanda.
In the 69th minute, Prosper Chiluya was thrown into action as Benedict Chepeshi made way, before Spencer Sautu replaced Harrison Chisala in the 77th minute.
Just a minute after the Sautu-Chisala substitution was made, Chipolopolo conceded the third goal when Hussein Ghadban scored, and the Africans were unable to recover in the remaining minutes.
Zambia have organized two friendly matches during the Fifa international break. After engaging Iraq outside the window, they will shift focus to the next game against Guinea on March 29.
Foreign-based players are expected to be drafted into the squad that will participate in the matches lined up during the upcoming break late in March.
New coach Asanovic had named a squad that consisted of only local players for this friendly, which is meant to prepare them for the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers set to take place in June and July.
The Croat, who had been appointed as a technical advisor in July 2021, signed a four-year contract with the Football Association of Zambia as the head coach as he hopes to lead the Cosafa nation back to its glory days.