DIANA CHIPEPO, Lusaka
FORWARD Patson Daka and midfielder Emmanuel Banda are upbeat of victory in Saturday’s 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier against Algeria.
The two, alongside Russia-based players Fashion Sakala and Stopilla Sunzu, joined camp yesterday to complete coach Wedson Nyirenda’s squad.
Daka said in an interview on arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka yesterday that being recalled to the Chipolopolo is a privilege and promised to rise to the occasion.
“I am not new to the senior team but I have been away for some time. Being recalled is a great motivation for me knowing that the coach is aware of my hard work. I have friends from the under-20 team and the seniors are also not new to me,” he said.
The return leg is set for next Tuesday.
The Austria-based hitman said unity will be key for the Chipolopolo to achieve positive results in both legs.
He said the fact that Algeria has a lot of players plying their trade in Europe does not make the North Africans superior because football is dynamic.
“They have high-profile players but football is a game of chance and who wants it the most. The fixture looks tight but that is not new to me. I have played three games in a week at club level before and I am prepared for both games. I am sure we will make it,” Daka said.
He also said the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations triumph and World Cup participation should not make the youngsters grow big-headed because they have a lot to learn from senior players.
Fashion declined to grant an interview saying he will do so after the match on Saturday.
And Banda said: “It will be a tough game but we have no fear. Algeria are beatable. We are working extra hard as a team. Pressure is always there but we will do our best. They [Algeria] may seem good on paper but on the pitch it will be a 90-minute game. In the end, we will tell who will get the day.”
He said there is stiff competition for the final team but is confident of making the final 18.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo assistant coach Aggrey Chiyangi said all the players are putting in a lot in training.
“We are happy with all the players. Algeria is a good team but what is important is we are playing at home and the focus at home is to get maximum points,” Chiyangi said.
Zambia are third in Group B with a point at par with tail-enders Algeria while leaders Nigeria have six points, four better than Cameroon.