NATIONAL team coach Patrice Beaumelle says goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene’s absence from this Friday’s international friendly against Japan is an opportunity for Joshua Titima and Toaster Nsabata to show their capability.
Mweene, who plies his trade for South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, will miss the outing to the United States of America due to injury.
Speaking after a training session at Barclays Sports Complex in Lusaka yesterday, Beaumelle said Titima and Nsabata should work hard.
“It is difficult when you have a goalkeeper like Mweene injured because he is used to playing every time but it is an opportunity for the other two to show that they can compete. So far Mweene is still our number one. The two boys are almost at the same level.
“I talked to them and told them they have one week to show who wants to be number two and to play this game. Competition is between the two of them, they have to show they have character,” he said.
Beaumelle expressed confidence in the duo.
“In the match against Uganda [international friendly in March in Ndola that Zambia won 2-1], I put Joshua after Kennedy was injured just after 20 minutes…he conceded a goal but he did well. He showed that he has character. Danny Munyao also showed during Cosafa. The door is open, it’s up to them to show me that they want to play in future,” he said.
And Beaumelle said striker James Chamanga is recovery from a hamstring injury.
He declared the team ready and the other 21 players will be able to compete should Chamanga fail to recover on time for the match set for Tampa, United States of America.
Beaumelle said the team is travelling to the United States of America to see how far Zambia is from qualifying for the World Cup.
He said Japan is a very good side with experienced players and will give the Chipolopolo extra competition.
“What I know is we are travelling to Tampa to learn and show that we are not sleeping…we are working as well. We are traveling to see how far Zambia is from qualifying to the World Cup.
“Japan has some very good players playing at AC Milan and Manchester United. The coach [Alberto Zaccheroni] has a huge CV [Curriculum Vitae]. He is Italian and has a lot of experience. The Japanese have a fighting spirit so it won’t be easy,” Beaumelle said.
The team is expected to leave for Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday.
Zambia Daily Mail