CHIPOLOPOLO skipper Rainford Kalaba says he is disappointed that he was left out of the preliminary 37-player shortlist for the prestigious 2015 CAF Player-of-the-Year award.
No Zambian player made the shortlist of nominees announced by CAF on October 11 to compete for the Africa Footballer-of-the-Year award and the Africa Footballer-of-the-Year award for players based in Africa.
But Kalaba said in an interview yesterday that he was disappointed that he was omitted from the list despite him performing well for TP Mazembe in the 2015 soccer season.
“It is very bad to see no Zambian player nominated on the CAF awards, especially myself. I have performed very well and even scored four goals in the Orange CAF Champions League helping Mazembe to reach the finals,” Kalaba said.
However, Kalaba, whose Mazembe side plays USM Alger of Algeria in the two-legged final, said his omission from the CAF list did not make him bitter because he believed everything happened for a purpose.
“It does not make me feel bitter at this point because I have finals to play in the CAF Champions League, everything happens for a reason,” Kalaba said.
He said there was need for Zambian players to be consistent in the CAF games and win trophies for them to vie for the CAF awards.
Kalaba was the last Zambian player to be nominated for Africa Footballer-of-the-Year award for players based in Africa in 2013, having a year earlier finished runner-up to Mohammed Aboutreika of Egypt as Stoppila Sunzu got third prize.
DR Congo goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba, Andre Ayew of Ghana and Yacine Brahimi of Algeria will be challenging Ivory Coast’s midfielder Yaya Toure for the title.
Sadio Mane of Senegal, Mehdi Benaria (Morocco), Al Tayeb Modather ‘Karika’, (Sudan) Mohammed Salah (Egypt), Nicolas N’Kolou (Cameroun) and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) are some of the players who made the cut.
Meanwhile, coach ‘Chicken’ George Lwandamina has roped in three players into the Chipolopolo ahead of this weekend’s Rwanda 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) final round return leg clash against Mozambique.
Lwandamina has handed Zesco United midfielder Mwape Mwelwa his first Chipolopolo call-up and has also recalled Zanaco striker Moses Phiri and Green Eagles midfielder Mwila Phiri Jr.
Team manager Lusekelo Kamwambi said in an interview after yesterday afternoon training session at Independence Stadium in Lusaka that all players called had reported for camp.
“The coach has made three inclusions into the team bringing in Moses, Mwelwa and Mwila to build up the team as they prepare for the return leg. Mwelwa from Zesco has also been handed a debut call at the national team based on his performance in the league,” he said.