THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has secured two more international friendly matches for the Chipolopolo against Namibia and Swaziland in readiness for the team's title defence at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa next month.
Both friendly matches would be played in Nelspruit, South Africa with the match against Namibia set to be the last game before the AFCON tournament kicks off on January 19.
The two friendly matches bring to five the number of games the Chipolopolo will play between December 22 this year and January 15 next year.
FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza confirmed the development in Lusaka yesterday, saying the game against Morocco would also be played in South Africa but at Rand Stadium in Johannesburg.
"There would be a game against Swaziland and Namibia added to the list of friendly matches the Chipolopolo will face before the Africa Cup of Nations starts. This is quite encouraging and should see the team well-prepared for the tournament," he said.
Zambia plays Tanzania on December 22 before playing Swaziland and Morocco in succession on January 5 and January 8 both in South Africa before flying to Ndola to play Norway on January 12 and closing the preparations against Namibia three days later.
He added that Italy-based goalkeeper Luciano Sandro Pasquini would join the team that reports to camp this weekend in readiness for the Tanzania game and that the final team for AFCON would begin on December 26.
And FAZ yesterday announced that Zambia will next year host the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) senior football tournament which was not held last year due to sponsorship challenges.
Zambia, who have won the tournament three times, will host the regional competition in Lusaka which will be coming off the back of the country successfully staging the ongoing regional Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games in Lusaka.
Mwanza yesterday confirmed the development but said further details would be released by COSAFA president Suketu Patel who arrived in Zambia last night ahead of a meeting with the would-be tournament broadcasters, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).
Mwanza said the COSAFA senior challenge Cup was a rotational tournament and this was Zambia's turn to host one of the continent's most prestigious regional tournament.
"Zambia will next year host the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup. But a formal announcement will come from COSAFA, the president should be arriving in the country to meet people at ZNBC and they will announce the dates and all," he said.
The COSAFA was last staged in 2009 in Zimbabwe with the host country winning after beating Zambia 3-1 in the final.
This is also a brave decision by Zambia to host the games after Angola and Malawi who pulled out of hosting the 2010 and 2011 tournaments respectively.