of Zambia by andrew Miti on 5/27/13
By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
MIDFIELDER Isaac Chansa was the biggest casualty as Hervé Renard dropped him from his 25-member Chipolopolo squad that saw striker James Chamanga bouncing back for the two crucial Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Sudan next month.
However, there was good news for the local players as Renard included 10 in the squad, among them the sensation Nchanga Rangers pair of Alex Ng’onga and Bornwell Mwape.
Chansa along with William Njobvu and Jonas Sakhuwaha, as well as goalkeeper Joshua Titima, who all played in the disappointing 1-1 draw away to Lesotho, have been dropped for the June 8 clash against Lesotho and Sudan a week later while some benchwarmers have still made the team.
But bouncing back is China-based Chamanga, who was on target at the weekend in Liaoning Whowins’ 1-1 home draw against 11th-placed Jiangsu Sainty, and is joined by Holland-based hitman Jacob Mulenga, both of whom Renard left out of the Lesotho match.
Announcing the team at Football House in Lusaka yesterday, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) spokesperson Erick Mwanza said the coach’s decision to leave out Chansa was purely based on ‘footballing reasons’.
“Yes, Chansa has not been called but it’s because of what the coach said. The player is lacking club action having not played for a long time.
“Isaac (Chansa) has not had a team for a long time and that really affects one’s performance but he will be considered for future games,” Mwanza said.
Chansa is currently playing for champions Zanaco as a guest player having made his sunset debut playing 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat of Nchanga Rangers and came on as a substitute in the 1-all draw against Napsa Stars two weeks ago.
Asked how other players had made the team and yet they do not play for their clubs like bench-warmer Emmanuel Mbola, Mwanza said “such players like Mbola may not be regulars at their clubs but always train with the team and that fact helps in one’s fitness and performance.”
Oddly, Renard has called up four goalkeepers, three of them locally based with Kennedy Mweene in the team as he will only miss the Lesotho tie but will be available for the Sudan match.
Renard also found space in the team for Red Arrows defender Jimmy Chisenga.
In trying to cushion the gap left by star defender Stoppila Sunzu, who underwent a knee operation, Renard has roped in the developmental side’s central defence pair of Kondwani Mtonga and Bronson Chama.
Mwanza said there were a lot of competing factors that were considered when coming up with the players who had made the team and expressed confidence that it was the best team in the country at the moment and would deliver.
He called for massive support from the Zambians for the team in the run up and during the two key matches that Zambia should win to stay a tab ahead of bitter rivals Ghana in the race for a World Cup play-off spot.
Zambia leads Group D with seven points from three matches, just one ahead of Ghana who the Chipolopolo would play in the last Group qualifiers away in Accra.
Mwanza expressed excitement at the decision by the coach to include many local players, saying this showed the progress in grooming of young players who now have a chance to break into the Chipolopolo squad.
The full squad has goalkeepers Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars), Danny Munyau (Red Arrows), Rabson Mucheleng’anga (Nchanga Rangers) and Davy Kaumbwa (Green Buffaloes).
The defenders are Joseph Musonda (Golden Arrows), Jimmy Chisenga and Bronson Chama (Red Arrows), Davies Nkausu (Supersport United), Kondwani Mtonga (Zesco United), Emmanuel Mbola (FC Porto) and Hichani Himonde (TP Mazembe).
Getting the nod in midfield are Nathan Sinkala and Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe), Shadreck Malambo (Red Arrows), Noah Chivuta (Free State Stars), Mukuka Mulenga (Power Dynamos), Alex Ng’onga (Nchanga Rangers), Chisamba Lungu (FC Urals) and Fwayo Tembo (Astra).
The strikers are Collins Mbesuma (Orlando Pirates), Bornwell Mwape (Nchanga Rangers), Christopher Katongo (Henan Jienye), Emmanuel Mayuka (Southampton, England), James Ch