CHAMPIONS, Zambia's preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals get underway tomorrow with a legion of 24 local players getting into camp to kick-start the title defence.
The first phase of preparations, consisting mainly of local-based players, will undergo intensive training sessions on the Copperbelt before shifting abroad to fine-tune.
The full squad called to camp includes: Danny Munyau, Joshua Titima, Luciano Sandro Pasquini, Davy Kaumbwa, Jimmy Chisenga, Chishimba Changala, Chintu Kampamba, Salulani Phiri, Rodrick Kabwe, Thomas Nyirenda, Joseph Sitali, Shadreck Malambo, Mukuka Mulenga, Kennedy Mudenda and Bruce Musakanya.Others are Musonda Lubambo, Kangwa Chileshe, Evans Kangwa, Moses Phiri, Lewis Macha, Ronald Kampamba, Alex Ngonga, Aaron Katebe and Chisamba Lungu.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Erick Mwanza said the early preparations would set the tone for the Chipolopolo as they get ready to defend the AFCON crown next year to be hosted by South Africa from January 19 to February 10.
Mwanza said in a statement released yesterday, that the squad would also have preparatory matches against Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Norway before touching base in Nelspruit, South Africa.
He said plans were still underway to organise another friendly match as FAZ sets into motion a rigorous training programme for the continental kings.
At the end of the camp, coach Herve Renard will name his provisional squad for the final AFCON preparatory camps.
Zambia will face Tanzania on December 23, Morocco on January 8 before tackling Norway four days later.
Mwanza said the Chipolopolo will conclude with matches against Saudi Arabia and possibly Namibia and other teams before facing Ethiopia in the opening Group C match on January 21.
Mwanza said the game against Norway would be contested by the final 23-man squad for the 2013 AFCON finals.