Chipolopolo coach Aljosa Asanovic has shed light on some of the exclusions in his 25-member final squad for the back-to-back Ivory Coast 2023 Africa Cup of Nations fixtures against Ivory Coast and Comoros.
Asanovic says Simba SC midfielder Clatous Chama and Augustine Mulenga who stars for Amazulu in South Africa were unavailable due to injury.
In an interview with the FAZ media, the Croat says long serving shot-stopper Kennedy Mweene indicated that he could only be available after June 3 citing club commitments while Stoppilla Sunzu’s club Shijiazhuang Ever Bright Football Club notified the Football Association of Zambia that they could not release the player owing to the Covid-19 instigated lockdown. Sunzu’s club said that the player would suffer a 21-day isolation on his return from national duty.
The Chipolopolo boss has also had to put aside Inter Miami defender Aime Mabika whose clearance has stalled owing to the stringent process applied by the government.
Mabika, who was born in Lusaka’s Chawama Clinic is eligible to play for Zambia and has been more than willing to don the Chipolopolo jersey but awaits clearance. He debuted for the Chipolopolo in March in an international friendly against Congo Brazzaville in Antalya that Zambia won 3-1.
Asanovic said he was confident that the players summoned for duty including newbie Frankie Musonda who is expected in the country today will fly the flag higher in the two fixtures.
“We will be ready, all we need is just to focus and play at a higher level,” said Asanovic.
Zambia will be away to Ivory Coast in Yamoussoukro on June 3 before hosting the Comoros Islands four days later at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka in an 18:00 hours kick-off. The Chipolopolo are in Group H alongside Ivory Coast, Comoros and Lesotho.
Toaster Nsabata (Sekhukhune-RSA), Charles Kalumba (Red Arrows), Cyril Chibwe (Unattached)
Frankie Musonda (Raith Rovers-Scotland), Tandi Mwape (TP Mazembe-DRC), Miguel Chaiwa (Athletico), Dominic Chanda (Kabwe Warriors), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Shemmy Mayembe (Zesco United)
Roderick Kabwe (Sekhukhune-RSA), Enock Mwepu (Brighton-England), Emmanuel Banda (Djurgardens-Sweden), Kings Kangwa (Arsenal Tula-Russia), Rally Bwalya (Simba SC-Tanzania), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors), Lubambo Musonda (AC Horsens-Denmark), Kelvin Kampamba, Spencer Sautu, (both Zesco United), Lameck Banda (Maccabi Petah Tikva-Israel), Edward Chilufya (Midtjylland-Denmark)
Fashion Sakala (Rangers-Scotland), Evans Kangwa (Arsenal Tula-Russia), Ricky Banda (Red Arrows), Gamphani Lungu (SuperSport United-RSA Patson Daka (Leicester City-England). – FAZ.