‘We’re not dropping guard’
By MICHAEL MIYOBA
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga says his executive will not drop guard to give the Zambia national soccer team better preparations for the back to back 2023 Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Lesotho in September.
Kamanga said they are aware Zambia will have to sweat for results because there is no easy fixture for the Chipolopolo who concluded the June round of matches with a 3-1 loss to Ivory Coast and a 2-1 victory over Comoros Islands.
Kamanga said FAZ will keep to its strict programme of giving the squad better preparations ahead of the 2023 AFCON qualifiers.
“We will not drop guard during this lull but keep to our strict programme of giving the squad better preparations.
“We are also lucky that there is a Cosafa tournament and African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers prior to the September round of AFCON matches,” Kamanga said.
He said the Cosafa that kicks off on July 5-17 presents the technical bench a perfect opportunity to fine tune some of the problematic areas of the team.
“Naturally, some players who ply their football outside the country may not be available but the locals who are on the technical bench’s radar will get a last-minute check-up.
“It is also a perfect opportunity to give an opportunity to some promising talents that are knocking on the national team door. Zambia will join at the quarterfinal stage which adds to the pressure to the team,” Kamanga said.
He also noted that the CHAN qualifier away to Mozambique on July 22-24 and a home match will be crucial in giving the coaches enough insight on the state of the team albeit with local players before the AFCON qualifiers.
Meanwhile, Kamanga said the 2023 Morocco Africa Womens Cup of Nations presents a perfect opportunity for the Copper Queens to qualify for the Women’s FIFA World Cup.
Kamanga said FAZ has arranged a number of friendly games for the Copper Queens who set up camp in Morocco who they held to a 1-1 stalemate in the first international friendly match played last Saturday in Rabat.
“For the first time, the women national team have had their house keeping issues around allowances laid bare. It gives our Copper Queens enough room to only think and dream about the game and there may be no better opportunity than this, for the team to qualify for the World Cup,” Kamanga said.
The Copper Queens who are in Group B alongside Cameroon, Tunisia, and Togo, will kick off their AWCON campaign with a clash with West African giants Cameroon on July 3.