11 December 2012

Zambia: Renard Gives Local Players Another Chance

ZAMBIA soccer coach, Herve Renard, has given local players a last chance to stake their claim in the Chipolopolo squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final title defence.

Renard opted to include a bulk of locals in the squad for the December 22 friendly against Tanzania in Dar-es-Salaam before deciding on who makes the provisional AFCON squad to South Africa.

The locals' first test was against Saudi Arabia last week where the Zambian team lost 1-2 and the coach was reportedly not impressed with the players' performance.

With the Chinese and DR Congo seasons closed, Renard also decided to include some of his AFCON-winning stars playing in those countries for the Tanzania assignment.

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) spokesperson Erick Mwanza said Renard would announce the 26-man team after the Taifa Stars engagement, setting the tone for the final round of preparations for the AFCON.

Mwanza said in a statement yesterday that FAZ was looking forward to a successful camp and good training game in Dar-es-Salaam.

The squad, which has been complemented by skipper Christopher Katongo and the legion of DR Congo's TP Mazembe stars, will set up camp on Saturday in Lusaka.

Renard decided to recall TP Mazembe striker, Given Singuluma to the fold, 11 months after being dropped just before the 2012 AFCON finals which Zambia won.

Singuluma, Zambia's leading scorer at the inaugural 2009 African Nations Championship (CHAN), returns to the team alongside midfielder-cum-defender, Francis Kasonde, who was left out for the Nelson Mandela Challenge against South Africa last month.

Playmaker, Rainford Kalaba is also back in the squad after recovering from a groin injury that saw him miss Zambia's final AFCON qualifier against Uganda and the Mandela Challenge.

Renard also handed Red Arrows defender, Tindi Mwanza and Derrick Mwansa, a Nkwazi defender their first call-ups o the team.

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