Zambia Chipolopolo made the early trip to Cameroon on 30 December 2020, to take part in a four-nation pre-tournament friendly starting this weekend in Yaoundé, as preparation for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), Cameroon 2020 that will be held from 16 January to 7 February 2021.
A 27-member team led by coach Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic left Lusaka on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the friendly tournament that will involve fellow CHAN finalists Niger, Uganda and hosts Cameroon.
Zambia will face Niger on the 1st of January, then follow that up against Uganda three days later. Micho's side will wrap their friendly itinerary against Cameroon on 7 January, before moving to their Group D base in Limbe, where they will face Tanzania on 19 January, Guinea on 23 and Namibia on January 27th.
Chipolopolo midfielder Spencer Sautu said the team is looking forward to the three friendly games. The Power Dynamos FC player returns for his second CHAN after making his debut at Rwanda 2016.
"I am sure you have seen that this team is full of players who have not played at this stage of international football and it will be a good platform for these guys," Sautu said before leaving Lusaka.
"I believe the friendly games will help us a lot and everyone will be aware of what is expected from them before CHAN starts."
Sautu is one of four CHAN veterans in the team who include ZESCO United defender Adrian Chama and Green Buffaloes midfielder Jackson Chirwa, who are heading for a Chipolopolo record -setting third successive tournament appearance. Sautu's Power Dynamos club mate Benson Sakala is back for the first time since Rwanda 2016.
Satutu, Chama, Chirwa and Sakala have all reached the quarterfinals in their respective last campaigns.
"Obviously in every tournament, every team wants to win it because that is everyone's dream. If we don't win it, then we have to reach the final to surpass the last two quarterfinals we have reached,"Sautu said.
Meanwhile, Micho has excused three players from the friendlies because of their CAF Interclub engagements during the week.
Green Eagles midfielder Amity Shamende will also be in Cameroon with his club for their Total CAF Confederation Cup tie against Coton Sport. NAPSA Stars defender Luka Banda is also away on Total CAF Confederation Cup duty in Mozambique to play UD Songo. While midfielder Harrison Chisala will be in Angola with Nkana for a Total CAF Champions League date against Petro Atletico.
Goalkeepers: Lameck Siame (Kabwe Warriors), Patrick Chooma (KYSA), Charles Kalumba (Prison Leopards), Richard Nyirenda (Nchanga Rangers)
Defenders: Clement Mwape, Adrian Chama (both ZESCO), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Pride Bwalya (Nkwazi), Golden Mafwenta (Buildcon), Zachariah Chilongoshi, Kondwani Chimboni (both Power Dynamos), Luka Banda (NAPSA Stars), Dominic Chanda (Kabwe Warriors)
Midfielders: Leonard Mulenga, Jackson Chirwa (both Green Buffaloes), Felix Bulaya (Red Arrows), Bruce Musakanya, Kelvin Mubanga (both ZESCO United), Collins Sikombe (Lusaka Dynamos), Albert Kangwanda, Kelvin Kapumbu (both Zanaco), Chaniza Zulu, Spencer Sautu, Beson Sakala (all Power Dynamos),Harrison Chisala (Nkana),Amity Shamende (Green Eagles),Paul Katema, Felix Bulaya (both Red Arrows)
Forwards: Roger Kola, Moses Phiri (both Zanaco), Emmanuel Chabula (Lusaka Dynamos), Friday Samu (Green Buffaloes)