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AfCON race tricky, says Honour Janza

NATIONAL team coach Honour Janza says the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations qualifying race is tricky.
The Chipolopolo have been drawn in Group E with Congo Brazzaville, Guinea Bissau and Kenya.
Janza said in Lusaka yesterday that Group E is tricky because it consists of teams that Zambia has not played against in a long time.
“Group E is tricky and interesting at the same time because we are all new to each other. We have not played against each other for a long time.
“If you look at Kenya, I think they are stepping up the game and Guinea Bissau are also doing well. For Congo Brazzaville you saw how they performed in Equatorial Guinea,” Janza said.
Congo Brazzaville reached the quarter-finals at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
Janza said the group might look simple on paper but it is tough.
Chipolopolo skipper Rainford Kalaba is confident the Chipolopolo will qualify for the finals in Gabon.
Kalaba said from Lubumbashi yesterday that Congo Brazzaville is the only team that poses a threat to Chipolopolo’s ambition of securing a slot at the continental event.
“Congo is the only team that could give us problems. They have improved a lot but since we have played them before they won’t be difficult to handle. Congo are stubborn at home, so we need to beat them at home [Zambia].
“Obviously we are the favourites but that should not make us complacent because the other teams are also good. It is important to win the first two games,” said the TP Mazembe playmaker.
Last year, Zambia started the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with a scoreless draw at home with Mozambique before losing 1-2 to Cape Verde in Praia and were held to a goalless draw by Niger in Niamey.
Zambia bounced back thumping Niger 3-0 in Ndola, overcame Mozambique 1-0 in Maputo and edged Cape Verde 1-0 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Midfielder Mukuka Mulenga described the draw as fair.
Mulenga said there are no underdogs in football anymore, and underrating opponents will be disastrous.
Striker Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba said hard work is key to success.
Meanwhile, Zambia will start the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a home match against Guinea Bissau on June 13.
According to the fixtures released by the Confederation of African Football on Wednesday, Congo Brazzaville will tackle Kenya on the same weekend.
Zambia will be away to Kenya in round two on September 5 while Guinea Bissau host Congo Brazzaville to conclude the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations fixtures.
Zambia kick-start the 2016 international calendar with a tricky home fixture in Congo on March 25 with Guinea Bissau facing Kenya.
Three days later, the Chipolopolo will travel to Brazzaville while Kenya will host Guinea Bissau.
Zambia will then travel to West Africa for a return leg against Guinea Bissau on June 4 while Kenya host Congo Brazzaville.
The Chipolopolo will end the qualifiers with a home clash against Kenya on September 3 with Congo Brazzaville hosting Guinea Bissau.
The winners will progress to the Africa Cup of Nations finals alongside the two best-placed runners-up.