MULWANDA LUPIYA, Ndola and ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka
COACH Wedson Nyirenda is targeting getting the first win at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Saturday when Zambia face South Africa in the 2018 Kenya African Nations Championship (CHAN) second round return leg.
Nyirenda said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that his charges are looking sharp ahead of the decisive match.
Since his engagement last September, Nyirenda has lost twice at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Zambia lost 2-1 to Nigeria in a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier last October and went down 1-0 to Mozambique in June this year in a 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
“I think football is football. You can win and lose games. I think that is one of those things in football. I think coming into this game, it is a very new game, every day is a new day and this game will be exceptional and we just want to come and give our people a good treat and I believe we are going to get the day for them,” Nyirenda said.
The first leg in east London ended 2-2 last Saturday and a goalless draw will be enough for Zambia to qualify for the CHAN finals.
On striker Alex Ng’onga, Nyirenda said he had been assured by Power Dynamos that he will join the team.
Football Association of Zambia communication manager Desmond Katongo also confirmed that Ng’onga was expected in camp last evening after featuring in yesterday’s Super Division Week 23 match against Buildcon.
Nyirenda also said facing an understrength South African side will not give Zambia an advantage.
“I think we are not going to take that as an advantage. We have our own problems. I have always spoken about this. We have had some problems in acquiring players. We have some players who are not here due to injuries and all those who are not here because of one or two situations but we cannot say that should give us an advantage or that should give South Africa an advantage. Football is about what you have at the present day,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nyirenda has described former Chipolopolo striker Jacob Mulenga as a beacon of Zambian football.
“First of all I would like to congratulate the young man, he has done great work for the nation. He has represented us very well outside the country, inside the country and where he is right now.
“I think he is a very big beacon for Zambian football. The young man has been very disciplined and it’s unfortunate Jacob has retired at the time that I have been monitoring him,” Nyirenda said.
The 33-year old, who plies his trade at Chinese side Shijiazhuang Yongchang, announced his retirement from the national team on Monday.
Mulenga made his debut in 2004.
Meanwhile, South Africa defender Roscoe Pietersen has predicted a tough match against Zambia.
“I am still in shock, it is an honour to be called to the national team,” the Ajax Cape Town player told the club’s website.