17 November 2012

Zambia: Clifford Recall Lies With Renard - FAZ

THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has said out-of-favour midfielder Clifford Mulenga is eligible for selection but that the sole decision for a call up into the Chipolopolo rests solely with coach Herve Renard.

FAZ general secretary George Kasengele told SuperSport.com in an interview that there was no ban on Mulenga being selected for national duties and that the sole decision rests with Renard.

Mulenga, currently playing for SuperSport United in the South African Premier Soccer League, was part of the Chipolopolo 2012 Africa Cup of Nations squad but was sent home for breaking curfew in January and missed out the glory of Zambian success in the tournament.

Renard said he had forgiven Mulenga, who was expelled after Zambia's 3-0 win over Sudan, but was not part of the squad that played the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers.

He was also not called up for the midweek friendly in Johannesburg against South Africa, although he would not have been able to play because he had an injury.

There have been calls from Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili, supporters' bodies - Zambia Voluntary Soccer Fans Associations and Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) for Renard to give Mulenga a second chance in the squad.

Kambwili said on Muvi Television's Sunrise programme on Thursday that he hoped Renard would be magnanimous enough to forgive Mulenga and give him another chance to don the Chipolopolo jersey.

Meanwhile, Christopher Katongo says Zambia's victory over Bafana-Bafana is clear testament as to who the African champions are.

Zambia beat Bafana 1-0 on Wednesday evening in the 2012 Nelson Mandela Challenge played at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

Katongo said the win, though in a friendly, had gone in some way in boosting the teams' state of mind ahead of their Africa Cup title defence in January.

"We showed today that we are still African champions. So what is important is to come and show this (form again) at the Africa Cup of Nations," Katongo said to Mtnfootball.

Zambia lifted their first-ever Mandela Challenge title courtesy of a 63rd minute volley from Collins Mbesuma.

The win was Zambia's first-ever in the annual charity event since losing 2-1 to Bafana in the inaugural match in 1994.

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