By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA and SANDRA MWILA -
CHIPOLOPOLO coach, Patrice Beaumelle has said his newly introduced weekly camping for the local players every month is aimed at monitoring their fitness and progression in the style of football to be played at national team level.
Beaumelle said it was for this reason that he would be having a weekly training programme every month until September when Zambia plays its first competitive match in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
After a training session at Barclays Sports Complex in Lusaka yesterday, Beaumelle said the week-long training camp would greatly help him monitor players unlike just letting them play for their clubs every week.
Beaumelle said the move was important because Zambia did not have any competitive games until September though there was a possibility of the team playing a friendly on March 5 with a yet to be named opponent.
“This is my idea of developing a strong team and to build a relationship amongst the players. I also want to have a look at the new plays. We also need to see how ready the players we already know would be when Africa Cup qualifiers starts.
“I know there are questions about this camp especially that we don’t have a game coming up just now but I need these guys to get to interact and know each other a lot more. As I noticed, they were happy to see each other again,” he said.
He said some players like Felix Katongo were not part of this team because the technical bench knew his abilities already and that the camp was also serving its purpose to look at other talents like Allan Mukuka and Kennedy Mudenda.
Beaumelle said the team would break camp tomorrow to allow the players to get back to their clubs and prepare for the start of the 2014 football league season.
He, however, said he would have preferred the players to be in camp for the whole week to enable him assess them properly.
Beaumelle said the camp had a good mixture of players like the experienced Christopher Katongo and the upstarts in Patson Daka, who starred for Zambia at the Airtel under-17 competition.
And Beaumelle said he would soon be naming his 23 players to feature in March 5 international friendly with a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Joshua Titima, Salulani Phiri and injury-prone Roderick Kabwe sat out of training yesterday after picking up knocks.
“Some injuries are as a result of fitness levels while one could have taken a knock on the sheen but the extent of the injuries would be assessed later. Some players could have trained a lot during off season and the recovery process (slowing down) could be causing this,” Beaumelle said.