Kalaba deserves CAF award

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 12:23:53 +0000


By Grace Chaile

ZAMBIA’s Skipper Rainford Kalaba has exhibited discipline and hard work that can earn him the Confederation of African Football (CAF) African-based player of the year award, says former Chipolopolo coach Patrick Phiri.

In an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday, the Forest Rangers coach Phiri said it was no surprise that the Zambia national team captain is among the three final shortlisted candidates for the title.

He said Kalaba was instrumental in leading his club TP Mazembe to win the 2016 CAF Confederations Cup.

“Definitely Kalaba is a hero and deserves the accolade. He has shown discipline and hard work both at national and club  level.

“I am very sure he is going to win the award.  Kalaba’s performance this season has been impressive more especially at continental level,” he said.

Phiri did not think that  Kharma Billiat and Dennis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns were a threat to Kalaba winning the award.

“The two Sundowns players did put up a good run but I feel Kalaba did a better job. His consistence and fighting spirit also inspired TP Mazembe to win the title,” he said.

Phiri advised the international players to ensure their good performance trickles down to the national team.

“Zambia has a tough season next year because she will be fighting for a World Cup slot, so the international players should endeavor to deliver at national team level,” he said.

Meanwhile, Phiri said Forest Rangers was targeting to at least win the 2017 Barclays Cup title.

He said the team which was scheduled to start pre-season training in the second week of January will need strengthening to achieve the clubs goal.

“We definitely want to go for the League title but will not be an easy task. If we fail, then winning the Barclays Cup should be our mark. For us to do better, we need to work on the weaknesses and strengthen the team,” he said.

Forest Rangers finished the 2016 season on ninth position with 43 points.


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