ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka
NATIONAL team coach Wedson Nyirenda is looking forward to competing with Spanish coach Lucas Alcaraz who is in charge of Algeria during the 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier in Ndola in August.
Alcaraz was named Algeria coach last week, three days after being sacked at Spanish top side Granada.
He has replaced Belgian coach Georges Leekens, who resigned after a group stage ejection at the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations.
Nyirenda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that he is eager to engage in a battle of intelligence with Alcaraz.
Zambia will host Algeria on August 26 with the return leg after a week.
Nigeria lead Group D with six points, four better than Cameroon, while Zambia and Algeria have one point apiece after two rounds.
â€œOur target against Algeria is to collect maximum points in the two games that we are going to face them. They can get a coach [Alcaraz] from Spain or the moon, that does not matter. What matters is football.
â€œWe are not scared of our opponents [Algeria]. We have been around for some time and we have met equally good coaches and we stood our ground,â€ he said.
Nyirenda said changing the technical bench could affect the Arabsâ€™ performance.
â€œIt may work to their [Algeria] advantage or it may not. Players need time to gel together and each coach has his own philosophy,â€ he said.
The Chipolopolo started the campaign with a 2-1 loss to Nigeria in Ndola but battled to a 1-1 draw with African champions Cameroon on November 12 in Limbe.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Alcaraz has been outlining his vision as Algeria coach at his first public appearance since being named.
The 50-year-old becomes Algeriaâ€™s fourth full-time coach in the last 13 months and dismissed talk about his lack of international experience.
â€œBefore coaching in La Liga I didnâ€™t have any experience either. I have never run a national team, but Iâ€™m not scared.Â Every nationâ€™s football has its own qualities. We are going to bring our ideas while we learn about Algerian football.
â€œI am not hard, I am not soft, I am rigorous, I give and I demand. I am going to analyse the needs of the team before I choose the players. Our duty is to see all Algerian players wherever they come from. Our choice will be made according to their form,â€ he said.
ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka