Chipolopolo to camp in Johannesburg

chipolopolo in practice

THE Zambia national soccer team will camp in Johannesburg instead of Ivory Coast ahead of next Friday’s must win 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya, who confirmed in an interview in Lusaka yesterday, said the Chipolopolo will leave for Johannesburg on Thursday.
FAZ had initially planned to camp the Chipolopolo in Abidjan but the association has opted for Johannesburg, the traditional camping venue.
Kalusha said the team needs to be prepared adequately because the match against the Black Stars in Kumasi is a must-win.
The 1988 African-footballer-of-the-year described the September 6 clash as the most important on Zambia’s 2013 calendar.
Ghana, who lead Group D with 12 points, one better than Zambia, need a draw to progress to the last round while Zambia needs victory to get to the final round.
“Of course it will be our most important game of the year and as FAZ we are treating it with the importance it deserves and we want the team to be well prepared,” Kalusha said.
He said the team has the capacity to beat Ghana at Baba Yara Stadium.
“I am confident we can beat them [Ghana]. We have got a quality technical bench and quality players. I have seen a great Zambian team perform and if they play the way they played in France against Senegal then no doubt we can win,” Kalusha said.
Zambia battled to a 1-1 draw with Senegal in an international friendly in Paris on August 14.
The FAZ chief urged fans to put behind Zambia’s failure to qualify for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals and focus on the clash against Ghana.
Zambia lost 1-0 to Zimbabwe last Saturday at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Kalusha said Zambian fans are genuine and are passionate about their team.
He said FAZ expect fans to turn up in numbers in Kumasi and rally behind the team.
“It was unfortunate that we lost but the boys did all they could only that it’s not easy to play the same team four times in a year. And if anything that is how it is in football you win some and lose some,” the former Chipolopolo skipper said.
Kalusha said most of the players that featured in the game against Zimbabwe are young and still have a lot to contribute to Zambian football.
He urged local players to work hard and build on their talent if they are to be part of the senior Chipolopolo.
“In football you have to work extremely hard. You have to put in 100 percent and I think the boys should be encouraged because losing is not the end of the world.
“I would say they have done fairly well, they won the COSAFA Cup and they have played a number of games without losing,” he said.