ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka
THE national team yesterday left for East London with coach Wedson Nyirenda declaring that his charges are targeting victory over South
Africa in Saturday’s 2018 Kenya African Nations Championship (CHAN) second round first leg.
And Zesco United midfielder Kondwani Mtonga has been ruled out of the match due to an eye injury.
Nyirenda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the players are ready for battle.
He said despite Zambia yet to get a win over South Africa in a CHAN match, the turning point will be on Saturday.
Bafana Bafana knocked out Zambia in the 2011 CHAN race via a 2-1 aggregate win.
“There is always the first time. Mozambique had never beaten us but they beat us at our home ground. Even us we are going to South Africa with a positive mind. We want to get a good result,” Nyirenda said, referring to Mozambique’s 1-0 win over Zambia in the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on June 10 in Ndola.
Nyirenda, however, cautioned his players against underrating Bafana Bafana.
Zambia beat South Africa 2-1 in an international friendly on June 13 in Rustenburg.
“What is happening in their camp where their coach [Stuart Baxter] is complaining about clubs withdrawing players could be part of mind games. We are focused for the game, we are going there for a positive result,” Nyirenda said.
He said Power Dynamos striker Alex Ng’onga was expected to beef up the team yesterday after failing to join camp on Tuesday due to a family commitment.
Nyirenda is relieved that goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata trained with the team yesterday.
Nsabata sustained an injury while featuring for Zanaco in a Super Division week 21 match against Green Eagles in Lusaka on Monday.
And Nyirenda said he will miss Mtonga’s input.
“Kondwani Mtonga has a deep cut on his eye. We have ruled him out. We will miss him but we have players like Jack Chirwa to cover up his position,” he said.