However, the Chipolopolo is threatened with fitness levels of midfielder Bruce Musakanya who limped off the field of play in the 35th minute of yesterday’s Barclays Cup final match between Red Arrows and Nchanga Rangers.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) spokesperson Erick Mwanza said in Lusaka yesterday that interim Chipolopolo coach Patrice Beaumelle will only name his final 23-man team today after watching yesterday’s 2013 Barclays Cup final between Red Arrows and Nchanga Rangers.
Mwanza said that the team was in high spirits and that the players have been declared ready for the tournament that would measure Beaumelle’s pedigree.
“The team is in high spirits; all players are well, no new injury concerns and that is what is important. The coach will give out the final 23 list of players tomorrow (today),” he said.
Zambia is in Group B together with Tanzania, Burundi and Somalia.
The Chipolopolo start their campaign with a match against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars on Thursday before engaging Burundi on Sunday December 1 and wrap with a tie against Somalia on Wednesday, December 4.
The team comprising locally based players have only trained for four days for the CECAFA Championship, but Beaumelle will seek solace that the bulk of the players have been together for a long time having assembled for the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup which Zambia hosted and won.
The players have also been involved in one key international friendly against Jordan which Zambia lost 1-0.
Some players were part of the Chipolopolo that lost 2-0 to Brazil and by a similar scoreline against Egypt in international friendly matches recently.
The only injury concern that was reported was that of holding midfielder Kondwani Mtonga who has since been declared fir by team Doctor Joseph Kabungo, saying he was recovering well and would be in tiptop shape for the tournament.
Kabungo said that the towering Zesco United midfielder would get into full contact training next week after missing training with a hip problem.
The players in camp are Joshua Titima, Toaster Nsabata, Charles Mutanga and Davy Kaumbwa as the goalkeepers, while defenders are Jimmy Chisenga, Rodrick Kabwe, Lawrence Chungu, Christopher Munthali, Bronson Chama, George Chilufya and Salulani Phiri.
Others are Mtonga, Shadreck Malambo, Misheck Chaila, Emmanuel Chimpinde, Musakanya, Julius Situmbeko, Justin Zulu, Mathews Nkowani, Sydney Kalume and Felix Katongo.
The strikers are Shadreck Musonda, Ronald Kampamba, Festus Mbewe, Patson Daka, Alex Ng’onga and Bornwell Mwape.
[Times of Zambia]