STRIKER Evans Kangwa has been dropped from the Chipolopolo provisional squad that goes into residential camping in South Africa tomorrow ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals as the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) defended the inclusion of Kalililo Kakonje into the team.
And coach Herve Renard yesterday left for South Africa to check on the team hotel and training facilities as the African Champions heads into final preparatory stage which sees the team playing three friendly matches before the January 21st Group C match against Ethiopia.
Kangwa, who is expected to leave for trials at Watford in England, was among the 26-member squad announced on Sunday but a list from FAZ yesterday revealed that he had been dropped and replaced by Shadreck Malambo.
FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza said at a year ending media briefing at Football House in Lusaka that Kangwa was a player for the future and was left out due to the stiff competition up-front where there were top strikers, Jacob Mulenga, Collins Mbesuma, Emmanuel Mayuka and skipper Christopher Katongo.
On the inclusion of Kakonje, who has not been playing since his injury that saw him dropped on the pecking order behind Joshua Titima and Danny Munyau, Mwanza came out strongly defending the move saying the coaching bench had the backing of the technical bench.
Mwanza said that the Chipolopolo technical team found Kakonje to be ahead of both Titima and of Power Dynamos and Munyau of Red Arrows in the national team pecking order.
He explained that after careful analysis of the four goalkeepers called in the past training matches and camps including the 2013 AFCON finals, goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene retained his place as first choice while Kakonje was seen to have stronger qualities ahead of the two, justify his inclusion.
"Kakonje was included in the team because he was seen to be up to the standard needed for the Africa Cup.
Yes, he did not see a lot of action both at club and national team but it was all due to an injury. He is fine now and ready for the Africa Cup," Mwanza said.
With Mweene and Kakonje making the team and just one more spot left, Munyau was dropped in preference for Titima as the FAZ yesterday released the official team list that tomorrow goes to South Africa to begin camp for the Africa cup.
Goalkeepers: Kennedy Mweene (Free States Stars, South Africa), Joshua Titima (Power Dynamos) and Kalililo Kakonje (Napsa Stars).
Stoppila Sunzu, Hichani Himoonde, Francis Kasonde (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Davies Nkausu (Supersport United), Joseph Musonda (Golden Arrows),Chintu Kampamba (unattached), Salulani Phiri (Zanaco), Emmanuel Mbola (FC Porto).
Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Mukuka Mulenga (Power Dynamos), Christopher Katongo, Isaac Chansa (Henan Jianje), Chisamba Lungu (Ural Oblast) , Shadreck Malambo (Red Arrows), Felix Katongo(Petro Athletico, Angola), Noah Chivuta (Free States Stars, South Africa) and William, Njobvu (Hapoel Beer Sheba, Israel).
Emmanuel Mayuka (Southampton, England) Collins Mbesuma (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Jacob Mulenga (Utrecht, Netherlands), James Chamanga (Liaongibg Whowin) and Jonas Sakuwaha (TP Mazembe, DR Congo).