ISRAEL-BASED defender Emmanuel Mbola and striker Evans Kangwa are doubtful for Sunday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya.
And coach George Lwandamina, who declared his squad ready, reaffirmed the Chipolopolo’s target of collecting maximum points in Nairobi.
Mbola and Kangwa are the only players yet to report to camp and Lwandamina is expected to name the final team today.
Football Association of Zambia communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said in an interview in Lusaka that the duo was expected in camp yesterday.
“Team manager [Lusekelo Kamwambi] has been in touch with the two players and we are expecting them today [yesterday],” Tembwe said.
But Lwandamina said it is important for players to blend before any crucial match.
“Well, it is just important to have all players in camp on time but some easily adapt and can do well in training even in two days. If they came today [yesterday] we can consider them,” he said.
Lwandamina, however, said the team has enough depth.
So far, skipper Rainford Kalaba, goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, defenders Kabaso Chongo, Stopilla Sunzu and Aaron Katebe, midfielders Nathan Sinkala, Lubambo Musonda and Chisamba Lungu and striker Collins Mbesuma are foreign-based players in camp.
Lwandamina said the Chipolopolo’s ultimate goal is to get a positive result in Kenya that will give them impetus going forward.
He also said he will not play to his counterpart Bobby Williamson’s mind games of overrating Zambia.
“Those are just mind games. Football is played on the pitch. We don’t have to play football outside the pitch, we will leave that for fans. Our job is on the pitch. We will stand firm and reaffirm that we want to go and get a positive result in Kenya. That’s why we have been working tirelessly so that we can achieve our desired results,” Lwandamina said.
He is impressed with the competition in the team.
Lwandamina, however, said competition in the team sometimes mounts pressure on local players.
He, however, observed that both local and foreign-based players are fighting for positions.
Lwandamina said players like striker Collins Mbesuma have been in the game long enough and is able to psyche himself.
Meanwhile, Kenya coach Bobby Williamson believes Zambia has a slight advantage over the Harambee Stars.
Williamson told the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation that the Chipolopolo have been preparing for a long time compared to his charges.
The Chipolopolo have been training for the last three weeks while Harambee Stars only started training on Monday.
However, Williamson believes that with several experienced internationals in the team, his side should not face a major problem.
“Of course, they [Zambia] will always have an advantage but it (early preparation) was out of our hands. It was a question of whether we will have the players and whether the clubs would release them,” he said.