ZAMBIA’S national soccer coach Honour Janza should not be condemned for including foreign-based players for the on-going Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Castle Senior Challenge Cup in South Africa.
Former Chipolopolo coach Patrick Phiri said Janza has a good game plan and should not be “convicted” for including foreign-based players in the squad.
Coach Janza was condemned by some soccer fans for including foreign-based players Kennedy Mweene, Bornwell Mwape, Evans Kangwa, Aaron Katebe, Emmanuel Mbola, Davis Nkausu, Nathan Sinkala and Mukuka Mulenga instead of giving more room to local players to get exposed.
Phiri said he understood that COSAFA was a platform to develop and expose budding talent from the regional member countries but Janza has to jelly the team for the next assignments.
“Janza has a good game plan and including foreign-based players to the team isn’t wrong. He needs to start jellying the team for the Africa Cup qualifiers to produce results.
“We have the CHAN tournament qualifiers in June so the local players will still have a chance to play. Janza is building a team for the next assignment hence this will help the players blend, “he said.
He said Janza had picked a good squad for the tournament and he would not be be shocked if Zambia defended the title.
“I am impressed with the mixed grill of players in the squad. It has the likes of Evans Kangwa, Jackson Mwanza, Mulenga, Patson Daka and Allan Mukuka that can combine well to deliver goals for the team. There is no doubt that Zambia can retain the cup”, he said.
Phiri said Zambia should not underrate any team at the tournament because every opponent will aim at beating the defending champions.
He called on Zambians to rally behind Janza as his focus was to bring pride to the nation.
The COSAFA kicked off on May 17 and will go on up to May 30.
The winners will pocket R500, 000 (about K300, 000) with the runners-up getting R250, 000 (about K150, 000) and third finishers R25, 000 (about K75, 000).
Losing semi-finalist will get R100, 000 (K60, 000) while the winner of the Plate event will get R75, 000 (K45, 000).
The Most Valuable Player, Golden Boot winner for the top scorer and goalkeeper of the tournament will each receive R20, 000 (K12, 000).
Zambia is enjoying a preliminary round bye from this year’s competition.
The four-time winners wait the victor from Group A comprising of Namibia, The Seychelles, Mauritius and fellow joint-record champions Zimbabwe.