Skipper Christopher Katongo leads a 28-man crack squad which the Fox unveiled Thursday December 22 to challenge for the honour of being the champion team of the continent when the biggest African soccer fest – the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations is played in January and February. Two players – Thomas Nyirenda and James Chamanga are on standby.
“I’m very ambitious and with this squad, I want us to do better than what we did in Angola two years ago. So to be better means nothing short of a minimum of a semi-final is better. But overall, with this squad, we will be ready psychologically, physically, tactically and mentally. It is our dream to win the Africa Cup particularly in Libreville where you know a great a part of our history was written. It would be fantastic for the memories of the Zambian team that died there,” Renard said adding: “Our first target is get out of the group and then after reaching the quarter-finals, we can dream to get to the final.”
The Fox said the squad has an excellent blend of experience and young talents who will bring a new energy to the team.
“We have wonderful players and in it new revelations who can compete for the first eleven. Of course, I would have loved to have Jacob Mulenga and Emmanuel Mbola. But we have Mayuka to replace Jacob. We have Mbesuma, Singuluma, Kola and James should recover as well as the young striker Evans. But overall, the talents in the team should be good enough to play for each other.”
“Team spirit will be key and the players’ commitment. We want to play as a good team with all players committed to fight for their country and not just themselves. We will be ourselves. We won’t fear anybody. We will respect every opponent and play our game,” the Fox said.
FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza said the team will have the best of facilities in South Africa.
He hailed the wonderful partnership and support of government saying that would enable FAZ prepare the squad fully.
“Like the president Kalusha said, our fantastic partnership and excellent relationship with Ministry of Sports and the Government, our various sponsors and partners will see us give the Chipolopolo the best preparations and incentives for them to prepare and compete very well,” Mwanza said adding: “after suspending training yesterday, the team gets together on December 26th in time for the send-off dinner at the Intercontinental Lusaka which we expect our Patron and Republican President His Excellency Michael Sata will grace,” Mwanza said.
He said at the Nations Cup finals, the Chipolopolo’s first tam strip will be Orange shirt, Green shorts and Orange socks while the change strip will be green shirt, black short and green socks. The goalkeepers will be in all yellow and all blue.
The full squad:
Christopher Katongo (Skipper – Henan Jienye, China), Kalililo Kakonje (GK – Unattached), Kennedy Mweene GK, Free State Stars, RSA), Joshua Titima (GK, Power Dynamos, ZAM), Joseph Musonda (Golden Arrows, RSA), Davies Nkausu (SuperSport United, RSA), Nyambe Mulenga (Zesco United, ZAM), Francis Kasonde (TP Mazembe, DRC), Hichani Himonde (TP Mazembe, DRC), Kampamba Chintu (Bidvest Wits, RSA), Stoppila Sunzu (TP Mazembe, DRC), William Njobvu (Hapoel Ironi K. Shmona, Israel), Nathan Sinkala (Green Buffaloes, ZAM), Justin Zulu (Hapoel I.R LeZion, Israel), Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe, DRC), Isaac Chansa (Orlando Pirates, RSA), Noah Chivuta (Free State Stars, RSA), Felix Katongo (Green Buffaloes, ZAM), Clifford Mulenga (Bloemfontein Celtic, RSA), Jonas Sakuwaha (El Merreikh, Sudan), Chisamba Lungu (FC Ural, Russia), Evans Kangwa (Nkana, ZAM), Collins Mbesuma (Golden Arrows, RSA), Emmanuel Mayuka (Zurich, Switzerland), Given Singuluma (TP Mazembe, DRC), Roger Kola (AS Ashod, Israel)
Medical Stand-by: James Chamanga (Dalian Shide, China) and Thomas Nyirenda (Konkola Blades, ZAM)
[Football Association Of Zambia]