Kalaba’s return cheers Beaumelle

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Rianford Kalaba
Rianford Kalaba

LUSAKA – Zambia coach Patrice Beaumelle says he was delighted to have TP Mazembe midfielder Rainford Kalaba back after a six month exile from the team.
Kalaba ended his exile on March 5 with an eye-catching performance in an international friendly against The Uganda Cranes, which took place at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, as Chipolopolo ran out 2-1 winners.
“You know we call Rainford Kalaba ‘The Master’. He can make the difference and he made some very good moves and was one of the players in the match made the difference,” Beaumelle said.
“The team worked well together and when we were down he was one of the boys that made the difference, who pushed and created chances.
“I had not seen him since the World Cup qualifiers in September against Ghana in Kumasi and I am very glad to see him back.”
Kalaba had two chances saved by Denis Onyango in the fourth minute and his second half replacement Robert Odongkara in the 58th minute.
The Mazembe midfielder went on to play the full 90 minutes of the friendly. Kalaba returned to the Zambia fold for the first time after his controversial decision to pull out of the Brazil friendly last October citing injury that led to a messy club versus country fallout.
Meanwhile, Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said the Chipolopolo are top contenders to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) slated for Morocco.
Sredojevic, whose Ugandan side lost 2-1 to Zambia in akn international friendly match on Wednesday, said in an interview that the Chipolopolo had the potential to retain the continental championship which they surrendered to Nigeria last year.
“I have a lot of respect for the Zambia team. They have good upcoming and experienced players and think they have what it takes to win the Africa Cup of Nations next year. You have a football association president in Kalusha (Bwalya) who is passionate about the success of the team, and I believe with such people in place, you are motivated to perform better and succeed,” he said.
Uganda will be able to know their opponents on April 27 when the draw for the preliminary round will be conducted in Cairo, Egypt. Times/SuperSport

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