Zambia: Squad Resumes Final Preps At Afcon Base

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Zambia's Emmanuel Mayuka celebrates a goal at last year's Afcon finals.

AFTER hitting base in Nelspruit on Sunday, champions Zambia yesterday started the final polishing up for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title defence at the Ka Nyamazane Stadium.

Coach Herve Renard took the 22 players through their paces at the Chipolopolo's official AFCON training ground after releasing defence pillar, Stoppila Sunzu on Sunday to enable him travel to England to complete his dream move to Premiership side, Reading.

Chipolopolo's deputy delegation leader, Pivoty Simwanza said the squad had two training sessions on the first day at their AFCON base in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.

Simwanza said the team yesterday started fine-tuning for the AFCON finals which kick off on Saturday and that the players were focused on the task at hand.

He said the facilities at both the four-star Protea Hotel where the team was accommodated and Ka Nyamazane Stadium training pitch satisfied the Chipolopolo's expectations.

The luxurious hotel is just over a kilometre away from Nelspruit's central business district while Ka Nyamazane Stadium is not new to Zambia as in 2007 the Under-20 national team, which included Chipolopolo striker Emmanuel Mayuka, played during the COSAFA Youth Championship.

Simwanza, who is Football Association of Zambia committee member, thanked the Government for the support rendered to the team and that the onus was now on the Chipolopolo to perform.

He said the squad was not leaving anything to chance and that there was no room for complacency.

On Sunzu, Simwanza said the dependable player left for London on Sunday night from Johannesburg in South Africa to tie up his deal at Reading from DR Congo side, TP Mazembe.

He said Sunzu was expected back in camp by Friday this week, three days before the Chipolopolo kick off the 2013 AFCON campaign against Ethiopia.

Sunzu is training with Reading and also undergo a pre-transfer medical and fitness test before completing his move to the Royals.

Zambians resident in Mpumalanga and neighbouring Mozambique and Swaziland were expected to flock to Nelspruit to cheer the Chipolopolo during the AFCON matches at the 45,000-capacity Mbombela Stadium.

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