STEPHEN PHIRI, Lusaka
TWO months after the first round ejection at the 2015 Equatorial Guinea Africa Cup of Nations, Zambiaâ€™s rebuilding process gets underway today with an international friendly against Rwanda.
National team coach Honour Janza has summoned skipper Rainford Kalaba, Daniel Munyao, Donashano Malama, Christopher Munthali, Kondwani Mtonga, Given Singuluma and Jackson Mwanza for the tie set for National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
All the seven were part of the squad that managed two points in Group B at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
Janza is targeting a win in front of the home fans.
He is preparing for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup set for South Africa in May and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers getting underway in June.
â€œThere are no underdogs in football anymore. It will be a tough game but we have to win and there will be no excuse for losing,â€ Janza said.
Zambia and Rwanda have met seven times with the former winning four while the East Africans have triumphed once while two matches have ended in draws.
Rwandaâ€™s victory was a 1-0 win in the Comesa Cup semi-finals on October 29, 2000 at Lusakaâ€™s Independence Stadium.
Janza will unleash his best arsenal.
Kalaba, Singuluma, Justin Zulu and Allan Mukuka will orchestrate play in midfield in a 4-4-2 formation.
Zulu is enjoying top form at Zesco United where he has scored three goals in the CAF Champions League.
In attack, Janza might partner Bornwell Mwape and Alex Ngâ€™onga or Mwanza with his Zesco teammate Winstone Kalengo.
Mwape netted a hat-trick in the 7-1 win over Super Division Lusaka Dynamos in a training match on Thursday.
Malama, Boyd Mkandawire, Kondwani Mtonga and Bronson Chama will form the rearguard while Daniel Munyao will be given a nod in goal ahead of Jacob Banda.
Rwanda coach Johnny McKinstry, 29, who was unveiled last Monday, will rely on skipper Haruna Niyonzima, who plays for Yanga in Tanzania, to cause an upset.
Meanwhile, Rwanda arrived at Lusakaâ€™s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at 21:20hours aboard the inaugural RwandAir flight at 21:20 hours, DOREEN NAWA reports.
McKinstry said the clash against Zambia is important as it has an effect on the FIFA rankings.
Zambia are 60th on the FIFA ranking, four better than Rwanda.
The 29-year-old Northern Irishman, however, said the 2012 African champions will be a hard nut to crack but was quick to point out that history will have no effect on todayâ€™s match.
â€œNobody wins on reputation but you win on what you do on the pitch in that particular game. Zambia has that history but for us we want to build on a team that can go and have good success,â€ he said.
STEPHEN PHIRI, Lusaka