FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya says Zambia’s mission at the 2013 Council for East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup is aimed at building a new Chipolopolo.
Kalusha said that winning the CECAFA tournament was not on top of the agenda but building a new Chipolopolo ahead of the upcoming challenges next year, which includes qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka at the weekend, Kaluhsa was, however, excited that FAZ have been offered another opportunity to expose the players to quality competition.
“We are happy at being invited to the CECAFA tournament except our mission is not about winning it but to build a team. It’s good for the local boys, so what we want from them is to go out there, play well and do as much as they can and enjoy themselves.
The important thing is that we are building, as you know we are in a phase where we are just out of the World Cup qualifiers and have to look far ahead. We played some important friendly matches along the way and they have also come to an end,” he said.
A twenty-member Zambian squad left for Kenya on Sunday to take part in the CECAFA tournament which starts tomorrow though the Patrice Beaumelle coached side only joins action on Thursday against tournament big shot Tanzania.
Kalusha said that FAZ wanted the players to go out without any pressure of winning the CECAFA title but instead play well and get some good results and go as far as they could.
Before departure, Beaumelle, who is searching for his first win since taking over from Herve Renard, said in as much as he was obsessed with winning, other factors like developing a team for future tournaments was the focus of his outing to East Africa.
And Beaumelle predicted a tough outing, especially that there was no longer a small team in the world.
Beaumelle said Tanzania was a tough team that he knew too well having gone to that country as an assistant coach to Hervé Renard prior to the 2013 AFCON in which Zambia lost 1-0 in a friendly match.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s first opponents at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Tanzania jetted into Nairobi yesterday ahead of the Group B opener on Thursday but without two key strikers Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu who ply their trade at TP Mazembe in DR Congo.
According to the Daily News, the two were with TP Mazembe in Tunisia for the CAF Confederation Cup final first leg which the Congolese lost 0-2.
Samatta and Ulimwengu will link up with Kim Poulsen’s Kilimanjaro Stars squad in Nairobi on December 1. Tanzania kicks off against Zambia on Thursday before playing Burundi on Sunday then wrap up against Somalia on December 4.
This year’s CECAFA tournament, which will coincide with Kenya’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations, will be officially opened by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta at Nyayo Stadium tomorrow.
The hosts, Kenya’s Harambee Stars will take on Ethiopia in the opening match to be graced by Confederation of African Football president, Issa Hayatou.
Times of Z