By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE Zambia Football Fans Association (ZAFFA) says the decision by 2012 AFCON winning goal keeper Kennedy Mweene to lose interest in
the national team may have a negative impact on the team as Zambia fights to qualify for the 2022 AFCON after missing the last two continental championships. The former Chipolopolo vice- captain, who helped his club Mamelodi Sundowns win La Decima with four clean sheets in the last five league games, is reported to have excused himself from playing for the Chipolopolo until “the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) fixes things.” The decision rules Mweene out of the crucial 2022Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers set for November 2020 with Zambia involved in back-to-back fixtures against Botswana. However, ZAFFA General Secretary Katwizi Chawezi said there is need for the legendary goal keeper to rescind his decision to not play for the national team because he has a lot to offer at national team level. Chawezi said Zambia will have a problem in the goal keeping department because at the moment no one can fill Mweene’s shoes. “Mweene still has something to play for because when goal keepers are aging that is when they get better. They are different from field players so for me he has three years more to continue playing for both club and country. “His experience is still needed at the national team especially that we have crucial games coming. All our games are must win games if we are to qualify for the AFCON,” Chawezi said. “Stopping to play for the national team at this time I think it is a big loss to coach Micho who will have a headache to have a very stable keeper like Mweene. He can be a bench warmer at Mamelodi Sundowns but his experience would have worked if we are to qualify for the AFCON.” Chawezi said the 35-year- old former Kitwe United goal keeper’s experience would inspire upcoming goal keepers to excel. He said FAZ should take advantage of Mweene’s experience by making him a goal keeper coach to help drill his successor. “I would have loved him to wait a bit and help mentor the young boys since he is even doing the goal keeping coaching course, I think he would have helped the young goal keepers to be better,” Chawezi said. Mweene who made his Chipolopolo debut in 2004 is Zambia’s most capped player, having represented Zambia 120 times. He last featured for the Chipolopolo in November 2018 and his return to the national team would break a two-year absence from the Zambian squad.