Zambia: Kakonje Dropped From Afcon Squad

CHIPOLOPOLO second-choice goalkeeper, Kalililo Kakonje has been dropped from the Zambia soccer squad currently preparing for this month's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa.

Delegation leader, Pivoty Simwanza, who confirmed the development from Johannesburg yesterday, said Kakonje had since been replaced by Red Arrows goalkeeper, Danny Munyau.

Simwanza said there was nothing sinister about the move but that it was just part of fine-tuning for the African champion s by coach Herve Renard before naming his final 23-man squad for the AFCON.

He said Munyau had since joined the squad at their Milpark training camp and took part in yesterday's rigorous training sessions, while Kakonje left for Lusaka.

The 27-year-old Napsa Stars goalkeeper, who has featured at four AFCON finals, played in Zambia's 0-2 loss to Angola in a practice match at the weekend at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

Kakonje, who was part of the Chipolopolo's 2012 AFCON-winning squad, is now assured of missing the 29th edition of Africa's premier soccer showpiece that kicks off on January 19 in South Africa.

Munyau, who was dropped after featuring for 90 minutes in Zambia's friendly against Tanzania, and Power Dynamos' Joshua Titita will deputise Chipolopolo's number one goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene at the AFCON finals.

Simwanza also described the team spirit in camp as fantastic and that the players were focused on the tournament.

He appealed to fans to rally behind the team and not to get carried away by the results from practice match, saying the Chipolopolo would show its real character at the AFCON.

"The fans should not worry about the Angola result. As you're aware, we are the defending champions and most AFCON teams are already here and we wouldn't like to expose our tactics early to our opponents in the tournament. Zambians should just pray for the team because the players are really putting their best in training and focused on retaining the trophy," he said.

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