SKIPPER Rainford Kalaba says the team is not under pressure to defend the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) senior talent title billed for South Africa.
The COSAFA tournament kicks off on May 17 to 29 in which Zambia begins her campaign in the quarter final stage and will face the winner of group A that has Namibia, Zimbabwe, Seychelles and South Africa.
Speaking after a training session yesterday at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium Kalaba said that the team had talented and skilful players to retain the trophy.
He however, said that Zambia being the defending champion, all the teams will work hard to beat her.
“We really need to work hard to retain the title. But the team is not under pressure to defend the title. I have confidence in both the local and foreign based players to bring back the title, “he said.
He said the team has to protect the image of Zambia being the former 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions.
“We have been given respect to start in the quarter final stage .That means we need to guard the image by reaching the finals, ” he said
Kalaba said the COSAFA tournament was a good platform for local players to expose their talent and gain international recognition.
“I advise local players to put in their best to attract contracts with foreign clubs. That’s how one gets to sign with highly ranked clubs abroad,” he said.
He said that the team will take the Malawi friendly set for this Sunday at Nkoloma stadium seriously to prepare for the COSAFA tournament.
He said Malawi should not be underrated as every game at international level was tough.
Striker Given Singuluma, midfielder Chongo Kabaso. Aaron Katebe and Nathan Sinkala had their first training with the team