Zambia relaxed ahead of title defense

TRISTAN HOLME Associated Press Published:

NELSPRUIT, South Africa (AP) -- The pressure may be on to prove that last year's success was no fluke, but defending champion Zambia is taking a relaxed approach as it prepares for its African Cup of Nations opener against Ethiopia on Monday.

Zambia held a low-key, two-hour training here on Saturday, shortly before a sustained downpour suggested that the opening round of Group C games could be a sodden affair.

Such was the deluge that flood warnings were issued across the neighboring Kruger National Park, with rising rivers closing bridges in the world-renowned game reserve.

Zambia has underwhelmed in recent internationals, failing to win any of its last five friendlies, but captain Chris Katongo is confident his side will turn its fortunes around once the tournament begins.