Football Sport

Chipolopolo players catch scouts attention

ZAMBIA striker, Jackson Mwanza (left) leaps to avoid a tackle from Lucky Malata of Malawi during the 2015 COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup Plate final match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa yesterday. Malawi won 1-0. Picture by MUZI NTOMBELA/ BACKPAGE PIX

DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Rustenburg, South Africa
ZAMBIAN players have caught the attention of European scouts at the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup.
Despite the Chipolopolo’s failure to defend the regional championship, England-based football expert Andy Dell and Turkish coach Tufan Deniz Daz believe Zambian players are talented to break through into the European leagues.
Dell said in an interview on Thursday that Zambian players have a good technical know-how that could make them land lucrative deals in Europe.
Zambia lost 4-5 on penalties to Namibia in the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup quarter-final and dropped to the plate category where they faced Malawi in the final yesterday.
Dell has been hired by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) as a technical advisor for the Flames for a month to assess the performance of the team ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“I have been watching Zambia during this tournament and I mu3st say you have some good players.It’s been very interesting to see some players showing individual brilliance, which is very good,” he said.
He singled out Green Buffaloes midfielder Allan Mukuka, who was man-of-the-match in Zambia’s 3-0 plate semi-final victory over Ghana, as one of the Chipolopolo’s top performers at the tournament.
Dell said his England Surestream Football Association Academy is working at creating a platform that will see more players from the southern African region break into English football.
He said most players in the region fail to make it in England because they are rushed without acquiring the necessary experience.
Zambian striker Emmanuel Mayuka, who plies his trade for Southampton, is warming the bench at the English side.
And national team coach Honour Janza is hoping his players could sign for top teams.
Janza is happy that his players are attracting interest.
He, however, said there is need to strike a balance between an opportunity of playing overseas and the protection of players from exploitation.
“One thing I have noticed in Zambia is that we have killed our boys in asking them to be cautious when scouts develop interest in them. We need to ensure that the boys do not lose such opportunities and at the same time ensure they are not exploited. As a nation, we will be happy to see players break through to the European leagues,” Janza said.

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