By SANDRA MWILA –
HONOUR Janza has named seven foreign-based players in his seemingly strong 20-member squad to compete at the 2015 COSAFA Senior Challenge tournament that kicked off yesterday in the North-West Province of South Africa.
The squad has seen the return of South Africa-based defender Davies Nkausu, who last donned the Zambia jersey at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Equatorial Guinea in January.
Janza has also acquired the services of midfielder and Chipolopolo vice-captain Nathan Sinkala, who will use the regional tournament to regain fitness after sustaining a knee injury at the AFCON finals.
Sinkala has been out of action since January but made a return to the Chipolopolo during the friendly match against Malawi coming on as a 70th minute substitute in the 2-0 win.
Other foreign based players in the squad include 2012 AFCON winning goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene, defenders Emmanuel Mbola and Aaron Katebe, and strikers Bornwell Mwape and Evans Kangwa.
Janza has also roped in Under-17 soccer team captain Patson Daka into the squad that was expected to regroup in Lusaka last evening.
Daka is the only junior player to have made it into the Chipolopolo squad that enters the COSAFA tournament at quarter-final stage.
South Africa is hosting the 2015 COSAFA Cup from May 17 to 30 in the North-West Province.
COSAFA has staked a total R1.1-million (about K660,000) for cash prizes for teams and players alike.
The tournament organisers announced R500 000 (about K300,000) as prize-money for the 2015 winner with the runners-up claiming R250 000 (about K150,000) and the team that will get the bronze medal will reap R125 000 (about K75,000).
Losing semi-finalists will take home R100,000 (K60,000) while the winner of the Plate event will receive R75,000 (K45,000).
There will also be three individual awards for outstanding players at the tournament.
The Most Valuable Player, Golden Boot winner for the top scorer and Goalkeeper of the tournament will each receive R20,000 (K12,000).
Chipolopolo midfielder Mukuka Mulenga, who is with the Zambia Under-23 soccer, team was the Most Valuable Player in the 2013 edition when Zambia hosted the COSAFA Cup.
The 2015 COSAFA Cup will be played at two venues in South Africa’s North West Province – Olympia Park in Rustenburg and the Moruleng Stadium.
Eight teams have entered the first round pool stage, split into two groups each containing four sides.
The teams will compete on a round robin bases with the top teams in each pool advancing to the quarter-finals.
Group A has Zimbabwe, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius while Group B has Tanzania, Swaziland, Lesotho and Madagascar.
The top six teams according to the FIFA World Rankings will join the fray at the quarterfinal stage.
Hosts South Africa will take on Botswana, Mozambique clash with Malawi, Ghana playing the winner of Group B and defending champions Zambia await Group A winners.
The losing quarter-final teams compete in the Plate competition, with the winners advancing in the Cup.
Zambia and Zimbabwe have each won four titles, with South Africa and Angola the only other winners with three each.
Full squad has goalkeepers Kennedy Mweene (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Danny Manyau(Red Arrows).
Defenders are Christopher Munthali (Power Dynamos), Bronson Chama (Red Arrows),Aaron Katebe (Platinum Stars, Zimbabwe),Emmanuel Mbola (Hapoel Ra’anana, Israel),Donashano Malama(Nkana), Davies Nkausu (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa).
Kondwani Mtonga, Justin Zulu (Zesco United), Paul Simpemba (Kabwe Warriors), Jimmy Ndhlovu, Kennedy Mudenda (Power Dynamos), Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) and Allan Mukuka(Green Buffaloes) complete the midfielders’ list.
The strikers are Jackson Mwanza (Zesco), Bornwell Mwape(AmaZulu, South Africa),Patson Daka (Nchanga Rangers ) and Evans Kangwa (Hapoel Ra’anana, Israel).