DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka
NATIONAL team coach George Lwandamina has advised players to compete for positions at their respective clubs to stand a chance to be included in the Chipolopolo ahead of the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.
Lwandamina said from Ndola yesterday that the technical bench has always encouraged players to fight for positions and be active at club level.
Zambia face Congo Brazzaville on March 23 at Ndolaâ€™s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium and four days later will head to Brazzaville for the return leg.
â€œWe have always encouraged players to fight for positions at their clubs. Competition at club level is very important for a player,â€ Lwandamina said.
On South Africa-based goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene who has of late been bench-warmer at Mamelodi Sundowns, Lwandamina said the Africa Cup winner will be assessed alongside all the players.
He said Mweene has been doing well at the national team despite having little game time at club level.
Ugandan Denis Onyango is first choice at Sundowns.
â€œWe will come and assess him just like all other players. Every player will be assessed and their positions in the final team will depend on the assessment. If you recall well, Mweene has done well in past games although he wasnâ€™t playing that much at his club. That is why we have coaches in that area, they will assess him and advise accordingly,â€ Lwandamina said.
He advised players to remain competitive and stay in form ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Congo and Zambia are joint leaders of Group E with four points apiece while Kenya and Guinea Bissau having a point each.
Meanwhile, national womenâ€™s team skipper Kabange Mupopo has joined camp ahead of the 2016 Cameroon Africa Women Championship qualifier against Namibia, KASAMBA BUUMBA reports.
Speaking after a training session yesterday at Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, coach Albert Kachinga said Mupopoâ€™s presence has raised morale in camp.
â€œMupopoâ€™s presence gives us an extra edge because in as much as she is committed with athletics, she is doing her balancing well. She needs to train for athletics because she has an international meet in the US next week but immediately after that she will be coming back to join the team,â€ Kachinga said.
Meanwhile, Mupopo said she will be able to strike a balance between football and athletics.
â€œI will strike a balance between the two because I enjoy both sports which are very important to me. I have done it before without being stressed and so I donâ€™t think it would fail this time,â€ said Mupopo who won a gold medal in 400m at the 2015 All-Africa
DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka