Mtonga out of Zim clash

Zambia 2-0 Zimbabwe - Chipolopolo Cosafa Cup champions @ Levi Mwanawasa Stadium

CHIPOLOPOLO midfielder Kondwani Mtonga has been ruled out of  Saturday’s  Orange 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) final qualifier against Zimbabwe for accruing two yellow cards from previous matches.
The Zesco midfield ace accumulated two yellow cards in the 2-0 home win over the Zebras of Botswana and against Zimbabwe in Harare last weekend.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) general secretary, George Kasengele confirmed in an interview yesterday that the secretariat received confirmation from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Mtonga’s ineligibility for the return leg against the Warriors.
“I would like to confirm that Kondwani will not play a part in Saturday’s game because he has two yellow cards. We have received a confirmation from CAF on his suspension for the game,” he said.
The development means coach Herve Renard will have to reshuffle his cards to make up for the instrumental Mtonga who is a key player in midfield.
Misheck Chaila is one of the best possible options to fit in Mtonga’s large boots and has come in forceful whenever he has been introduced as a substitute.
Meanwhile, Renard has said the squad is in high spirits ahead of the second leg clash of the Zambezi at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium derby tomorrow.
Renard said in an interview after the team’s morning training session at Levy Mwanawasa annex that all players were shaping up well ahead of the crucial return leg against Zimbabwe.
The Frenchman was also pleased with the high morale in camp, adding that all players were focused on producing a positive result.
Renard, who included Power Dynamos midfielder Thomas Nyirenda and George Chilufya of Nchanga Rangers to strengthen his squad said a Chipolopolo victory was inevitable tomorrow.
“The players are doing fine in training and the morale in camp is high, so there is no reason why we should not win this particular game,” he said.
Other players, who also got Renard’s nod in the squad included Power’s Julius Situmbeko, Percy Bilyoti and Gift Wamundila of Green Buffaloes.
And team doctor, Joseph Kabungo declared a clean health bill of all the players after a practice match against Division One North side, Kalewa on Wednesday.
He said all players were fit and ready to feature for the Chipolopolo against Zimbabwe in this must-win encounter.
“From the medical point of view, all players are fine; there are no injury concerns and everyone is ready to play,” he said.
After playing to a goalless draw in Harare last Sunday, Zambia and Zimbabwe are both looking for a positive result to book themselves a place at next year’s third edition of the CHAN tournament slated for South Africa from January 11 to February 1.
Zambia won bronze at the inaugural CHAN tournament in 2009 in Ivory Coast and missed out on the 2011 edition, while Zimbabwe are eyeing their third successive appearance.
Zimbabwe are expected to arrive in the country today in time for tomorrow’s game.