By MOSES CHIMFWEMBE –
CHIPOLOPOLO strikers Jacob Mulenga and James Chamanga have been ruled out of the March 5 international friendly match against the Cranes of Uganda to be played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Coach Patrice Beaumelle confirmed in an interview yesterday after the morning training session in Ndola that the two strikers, who have been out of action due to injuries, will not play any part in next Wednesday’s friendly game.
Mulenga, who plies his trade at the Dutch side FC Utrecht, has been sidelined with a thigh injury for the past three months while Chamanga, who plays for Chinese side Liaoning Whowin, has not returned to full training after suffering a knee injury late last year.
“Jacob and James are not fit and they will not travel for this game. I spoke to them and they are not 100 percent fit, so it’s better for us to give chance to the young boys,” said Beaumelle.
He said midfielder Felix Katongo is also a doubt for the friendly match as he is on military assignment with the Zambia Army.
Beaumelle was, however, encouraged by the news that French based prolific defender Stoppila Sunzu will be available for the Uganda game.
He said Sunzu who picked up a knock in Sochaux 2-2 drew against Valenciennes in the French Ligue I match on Saturday, is expected to join camp on Sunday after his side’s home clash against Bordeaux this weekend.
And Beaumelle, who expressed happiness to play his first home game as Chipolopolo head coach, has prodded young players to rise to the occasion in the absence of some senior players and make a mark.
The Frenchman was also full of praise of the young players who he said were shaping up well in training.
“I am very glad with the level of concentration with the young players in training. They are not feeling any pressure because they want to improve,” he said.
By yesterday, about 24 local players who included Chipolopolo skipper Christopher Katongo had reported for camp while the foreign based legion is expected to start arriving by March 1 after playing for their respective clubs at the weekend.