By SANDRA MWILA –
ENTERPRISING midfielder Chisamba Lungu has ‘shunned’ the Chipolopolo call up for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Sudan tomorrow.
Lungu, who captains Russian side FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast, has excused himself from Wednesday’s clash in Khartoum but promised to be available for the return clash on Sunday at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
As the Chipolopolo left for Sudan last night, Coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina shockingly recalled TP Mazembe defender Kabaso Chongo back into the team ahead of the two crucial must-win qualifiers.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Nkweto Tembwe, who released the final 23-man squad comprising 14 locals and nine foreign-based players, said Chisamba would not make it for the first leg.
“Chisamba has excused himself for the Sudan game on Wednesday for personal reasons but the good thing is that he will be available for the return leg in Ndola,” he said.
Captain Rainford Kalaba and his vice Nathan Sinkala, Kennedy Mweene, Collins Mbesuma, Lubambo Musonda, Evans Kangwa, Stopilla Sunzu, Kabaso and Aaron Katebe make up the foreign legion list.
However, the decision by Lwandamina to fall back on Kabaso, who is not a regular at Mazembe, came as a surprise as he left out the likes of Fwayo Tembo and Given Singuluma.
Lwandamina also retained faith in rising star Conlyde Luchanga who scored in his debut for the Chipolopolo during the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier 3-0 win over Mozambique.
Equally, the likes of Jack Chirwa, Paul Katema and Boyd Mkandawire seem to have impressed Lwandamina to be included in the team.
Lwandamina said in an interview that the team has no choice but to record a positive result against Sudan on Wednesday so that the job can be completed back in Ndola.
He said despite the local team failing to record a win at the Four-Nation’s invitation tournament in Angola, the players picked up positives that will help them in the Sudan clash.
“This one is a qualifier we are going there to try and record a positive result that will help us advance to the next stage. Every team is beatable, that includes Sudan, we have to put in more effort and more character than physical strength, will be required, “he said.
Asked if the team will have enough time to acclimatise ahead of tomorrow’s game, Lwandamina expressed hope that the Chipolopolo will have enough time before the game to convalesce.
“That’s the only time that we have, we leave at midnight and we will acclimatise and make a plan to enable the team recover,” he said.
Full team has goalkeepers: Kennedy Mweene (Mamelodi Sundowns), Jacob Banda (Zesco) and Toaster Nsabata (Zanaco).
Strikers: Winston Kalengo (Zesco), Collins Mbesuma (Mpumulanga), Conlyde Luchanga (Lusaka Dynamos), Lubambo Musonda (Gandazsar Kapan), Festus Mbewe (Red Arrows) and Evans Kangwa(Hapoel Ra’anana).
Midfielders: Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala (Mazembe), Jack Chirwa (Green Buffaloes), Paul Katema (Red Arrows).
Defenders are Christopher Munthali (Power Dynamos), Kabaso Chongo (Mazembe), Donashano Malama (Nkana), Daut Musekwa (Zesco), Stopilla Sunzu (Lillie), Boyd Mkandwire (Napsa Stars),Bendecit Chapeshi (Red Arrows), Buchizya Mfune (Green Buffaloes), Aaron Katebe (Maghred Athletic Tetouan).