By MICHAEL MIYOBA
ZAMBIA national team midfielder Salulani Phiri says the three friendly matches against Senegal, Benin and Sudan are crucial because they will give both local and foreign-based players a chance to assess themselves ahead of the World Cup qualifiers set to kick off in September.
In an interview after the Chipolopolo arrived in Dakar ahead tomorrow’s international friendly match against the Teranga Lions of Senegal, Phiri features for Polokwane City in South Africa and encouraged the many local players who have made the cut in Micho’s 23-member squad to take the games against Senegal, Benin and Sudan seriously.
Phiri noted that despite facing Senegal in a friendly, the Chipolopolo will have to hunt down the Teranga Lions to rejuvenate their confidence ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
“It’s an important game for us. It is one of the last games before the World Cup qualifiers begin so it will give us an opportunity to work on ourselves,” Phiri said.
Phiri urged fans to continue encouraging and supporting the team as preparations for the crucial World Cup qualifiers intensifies.
Meanwhile, the Chipolopolo boys touched down at the Blaise Diagne International Airport at 17:30 hours after a brief stopover in Bamako, Mali and are camped at Baobab Hotel.
Zambia will play Senegal tomorrow in Thies in the first of three international friendly matches that will see the team play Benin in Cotonou on June 8 before heading to Omdurman to clash with Sudan.
GOALKEEPERS: Cyril Chibwe (Polokwane City, South Africa), Lameck Siame (Kabwe Warriors), Gregory Sianjase (Young Green Eagles)
DEFENDERS:Tandi Mwape (TP Mazembe, DRC), Isaac Shamujompa, Golden Mafwenta (Buildcon), Benedict Chepeshi, Prosper Chiluya (both Red Arrows), Dominic Chanda (Kabwe Warriors), Makabaniso Magenge (Lusaka Dynamos)
MIDFIELDERS: Benson Sakala, Spencer Sautu (both Power Dynamos), Salulani Phiri (Polokwane City, South Africa), Klings Kangwa (Arsenal Tula – Russia), Amity Shamende (Green Eagles), Paul Katema (Red Arrows), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors)
FORWARDS: Collins Sikombe (Lusaka Dynamos), Moses Phiri, Rogers Kola (both Zanaco) Ntazana Mayembe (Cardiff City, Wales), Brian Mwila (Buildcon).