Chipolopolo star players believe a good performance against Senegal on Wednesday will set the right tone for the 2012 African champions ahead of next month’s crucial Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Ghana.
Zambia will face Senegal’s Teranga Lions in an international friendly match in France and the four TP Mazembe based players believe this fixture will help in building confidence for squad before the September 6 clash.
The TP Mazembe quartet of Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala, Hichani Himoonde and Stoppila Sunzu yesterday left for Paris on a lunchtime South Africa Airlink flight together with Chipolopolo assistant coach, Masautso Mwale, physiotherapist, Gibson Chaloba and assistant team manager, Stanley Kaseko.
The quartet was scheduled to link up with their South Africa-based colleagues in Johannesburg before connecting to Paris last night.
Chipolopolo coach, Herve Renard, who took the locally-assembled squad to Zimbabwe for yesterday’s abortive African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier, and other technical staff and players were expected to join the rest of the team in Paris.
Speaking in an interview before departure at the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola, Kalaba described the Teranga Lions friendly as an important match which would help in solidifying Zambia’s confidence before meeting the Black Stars.
Kalaba said playing a West African opposition in friendly was the right remedy for Zambia ahead of the crucial Brazil 2014 qualifier.
“We’ve a crucial game in September against Ghana and this match (against Senegal) will help build out confidence,” the influential midfielder, who missed Zambia’s two key World Cup qualifiers in June with a calf injury, said.
Defence pillar, Sunzu, who also returns after missing the June matches, said there was need for the team to retain the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winning spirit.
Sunzu said he was fit and ready to stop Ghana again next month and that the Wednesday match would give the squad the impetus to showcase its potential.
He, however, emphasised on the need to prepare adequately before facing the Black Stars in Kumasi.
Sinkala, the 2012 AFCON revelation, said the fans would be more confident of the team’s prospects in Ghana if Zambia beats Senegal this week.
The defensive midfielder, said while Senegal would be aiming to avenge the 2012 AFCON loss, Zambia just needed to remain focused and use the game as a stepping stone for the Black Stars.
Defender Himoonde said facing a star-studded Senegal with Europe-based players this week would give the Chipolopolo clear indications before tackling Ghana.
He said just like Senegal, Ghana also boasts of players featuring for top European teams and that the friendly would greatly help Zambia’s preparations.