The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AfCON) qualifiers Group E is tricky and Zambia should not underrate any team, says Chipolopolo coach Honour Janza
Zambia was drawn in Group E with Congo Brazzaville, Kenya and Guniea Bissau with the finals set for Gabon.
Janza in an interview yesterday said Zambia will not have it easy to qualify because all her opponents have stepped up their game.
“It is a tricky and interesting group for Zambia because all the opponents are almost new to us. I know it may look easy on paper but when we look at Kenya, Congo Brazzaville or Guinea Bissau, they have improved and are not pushovers.” he said.
He said that Zambia needed to be set and the players should remain focused throughout the qualification stage.
“We don’t know the opponents that much but from their performance at different tournaments gives a hint. For instance, we saw what Congo Brazzaville did at the last AfCON, it shows that we need to work hard especially that only one country in each group qualifies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Egyptian- ased striker Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba said Zambia was capable of qualifying to the AfCON finals provided they worked hard.
Kampamba, who is currently in camp with the Under-23 preparing for the All-Africa qualifier return leg against Nigeria this Sunday at National Heroes Stadium, said Zambia was a better side in the group and could beat everyone.
“We are a better team compared to our opponents. The team just has to work hard and beat them, but we shall not underrate any team,” he said.
Under-23 national team and South African-based mid-fielder Mukuka Mulenga said that Zambia’s chances of qualification were very high.
“We have all what it takes to qualify and nothing will stop us. All the opponents are good sides but with hard work, it is possible to qualify easily,” he said.
Striker Patrick Ngoma said it was too early to say that the team was going to qualify because there were no underdogs in soccer today.
“We can’t say Zambia has qualified until we play all the matches. Our approach should never be that of underrating any team, believe me, we will be shocked if that will be our approach,” he said.
And Under-23 coach Fighton Simukonda is today expected to announce the final squad for the decisive Nigeria clash.
FAZ communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said the Israeli clubs have refused to release striker Evans Kangwa and Emmanuel Mbola for the Sunday’s Nigeria clash because it’s not a FIFA date.
“Both clubs for the two players have refused to release them because the match will not be played on a FIFA date. But we are hoping they can reverse their decision,” he said.
Nkweto said he received communication from the Nigerian officials that the team was scheduled to arrive yesterday but didn’t indicate the time.