MULWANDA LUPIYA, Ndola
NATIONAL team coach Wedson Nyirenda has dropped Lusaka Dynamos midfielder Cletus Chama and six others ahead of tomorrow’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mozambique.
And skipper Rainford Kalaba says the Chipolopolo are eager to beat Mozambique in a bid to win back confidence of fans.
Meanwhile, striker Given Singuluma, who scored against Mozambique in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Maputo is looking forward to finding the back of the net again.
Nyirenda said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that Chama and six others are still part of the team despite not making the final team that will face Mozambique.
Other players released are midfielders Misheck Chaila, Collins Sikombe, Stanley Nshimbi and strikers Jackson Mwanza, Justin Shonga and Mwila Phiri.
He said that the team is focused for the match.
“I have always said that there is no small game and no big game. So we will treat the game with the respect that it requires and the team is ready for battle though we have another day.
“We have this afternoon [yesterday] and we have another day tomorrow [today] to complete our preparations. But all in all, the boys are looking good and are getting better each day and I think it will be a wonderful game for the nation,” Nyirenda said.
Nyirenda is relishing an encounter against the Abel Xavier-mentored Mambas.
He described the former Portugal and Liverpool defender, Xavier, as a good gentleman.
Kalaba said in a separate interview yesterday that there is too much pressure on the Chipolopolo to emulate the under-20 national team’s exploits at the FIFA World Cup in South Korea.
“I think the atmosphere in the team is good. I can see the guys are happy and are pushing in training. I expect everyone to work hard so that we can go to the AfCON. This is our last chance because, you know, there is too much pressure between the under-20 national team and us.”
The Beston Chambeshi-mentored squad put up a splendid performance in South Korea where they reached the quarter-finals.
The young Chipolopolo lost to Italy 3-2 in extra time to exit the competition.
He said the team is eager to start the campaign on a winning note.
Forward Given Singuluma is delighted to return to the Chipolopolo after a lengthy absence.
“I am looking forward to scoring against Mozambique. When I look at my record, I have always scored against Mozambique even when I was playing for the under-23 team.
“So I am looking forward to that [scoring] and I just pray to God that things go well and I score,” said Singuluma, who netted the winning goal against Mozambique in Maputo during the 2015 AfCON qualifier.