SOUTH Africa-based midfielder Mukuka Mulenga has advised his teammates to take the match against Ivory Coast this Saturday seriously if they are to qualify to the Senegal CAF Under-23 Championships and the Olympics.
Speaking after a training session at Independence Stadium in Lusaka yesterday, Mulenga said Zambia should revenge the 0-4 beating they suffered in 2008 at the hands of the Ivorians which ended the Chipolopolo dreams of qualifying for the Olympics.
He said the Ivorians were a good team but the young Chipolopolo should be able to contain the pressure.
“I urge my team mates to take Saturday’s game seriously and get a win. We should not be scared of Ivory Coast because it will have an impact on our performance,
“I can’t deny that pressure is always there when playing on the West African soil. But I have no doubt that we will handle the pressure. Ivory Coast ejected us from the race in 2008, it is our turn now to eject them, “he said.
He said winning away will be an added advantage for the team as they play host to the return leg two weeks later.
Mulenga said that he was in form and ready to contribute to the team’s victory.
“I am in high spirit to ensure the team grabs a win in Abidjan. I have regained my form and ready to terrorise Ivory Coast, ”he said.
And goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata said the 4-0 thrashing of Tanzania by the Under-23 Shepolopolo was a morale booster for the team.
Nsabata said the team should emulate the girls by beating Ivory Coast in their backyard.
“If the Shepolopolo did it, we are also capable of such a brilliant performance. It is time Zambia became a force to reckon with again on the continent. I have belief we will bring down Ivory Coast, “he said.
Meanwhile, FAZ communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said the team will leave for Abidjan this afternoon.
Tembwe said the team could not leave yesterday because of flight plan change.
“We thought it wise to relieve the team from stress by connecting them directly to Abidjan. Even if they had left (yesterday) they could have still arrived on Thursday,”he said.
The final squad has goalkeepers Toaster Nsabata (Zanaco) and Kenny Mumba (Red Arrows).
Defenders include Boyd Mkandawire (Napsa Stars), Kapota Kayawe (Nkana), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Benson Sakala (Zesco) and Bernard Mapili (Zesco).
Midfielders consist of Shadreck Malambo (Red Arrows), Mukuka Mulenga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Jackson Chirwa (Green Buffaloes), Kelvin Mubanga (Power Dynamos), Salulani Phiri and Moses Phiri (Zanaco).
Strikers are Patson Daka (Nchanga Rangers), Ronald Kampamba (Wadi Degla Fc, Egypt), Friday Samu (Green Buffaloes), Patrick Ngoma (Red Arrows) and Bruce Musakanya (Red Arrows).