FORMER national soccer team coach Patrick Phiri has said the re-calling of Isaac Chansa and Christopher Katongo to the senior team will add experience and competition as Zambia aims to qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations tournament.
Phiri said in an interview that the two players had proved at the CHAN tournament that they still had ‘‘fresh legs and ready to add value to the game’’.
He said the decision by George Lwandamina to call Chansa and Katongo to the provisional team to prepare for the AfCON qualifier against Congo Brazzaville set for March 23 and 28 was a commendable move.
“I have always said this; one cannot run away from experience in football. I believe the two showed what they can do in Rwanda at the CHAN tournament, hence deserve a chance,” he said.
He however advised Chansa and Katongo to work hard if they want to be picked for the final team.
“They should too fight for slots in the national team. I am sure the coach will not give special treatment to anyone. Each player needs to work hard to prove he is worthy the final team place,” he said.
Phiri said it was unfortunate that Chisamba Lungu could not be part of the squad called by Lwandamina due to injury.
“Chisamba is an instrumental player to the squad and it is sad that he is recovering from injury, hence he will miss the Congo Brazzaville match,” he said.
Chisamba sustained a tibial fracture at his Russian club Ural and has been given two weeks leave.
The provisional squad has goalkeepers: Kennedy Mweene (Mamelodi Sundowns), Jacob Banda (Zesco United), Racha Kola (Zanaco), Lawrence Mulenga (Kabwe Warriors).
Defenders: Stopilla Sunzu (Lille, France), Davies Nkausu (Free State Stars, RSA), Kabaso Chongo (TP Mazembe DR Congo), Dauti Musekwa (Zesco), Stephen Kabamba, Adrian Chama (Green Buffaloes), Donashano Malama (Nkana) and George Chilufya ( Zanaco).
Midfielders: Lubambo Musonda (Gandzasar Kapan, Armenia), Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazambe), Buchizya Mfune, Jackson Chirwa ( Green Buffaloes), Solomon Sakala (Warriors), Benson Sakala (Power Dyanmoes), Mwelwa Mwape, Clatous Chama (Zesco, Spencer Sautu, Mwila Phiri (Green Eagles), Charles Zulu, Salulani Phri and Isaac Chansa (all from Zanaco).
Strikers: Winston Kalengo (AC Leopards, Congo), Collins Mbesuma (Mpumalanga Black Aces, RSA), Evans Kangwa (Hapoel Raánana, Israel), Christopher Katongo (Green Buffaloes, Adamson Mulao (Green Eagles), Conlyde Luchanga and Patson Daka (Power Dynamos).