By MICHAEL MIYOBA
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) says it expects the National team technical bench led by coach Avram Grant to put up a winning squad for the back-to-back Group H Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers slated for next month against Lesotho.
FAZ president, Andrew Kamanga, said Grant is working on a roadmap that will culminate in a camp preceding the assignment in Ndola.
Zambia will host Lesotho on March 20 AT Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola before traveling to Lesotho for the reverse fixture slated for March 28 at Setsoto Stadium.
“We are mindful of the anxieties around the Chipolopolo AFCON assignment next month and are liaising with the technical bench in the background,” Kamanga said.
“Grant has already taken a closer look at local players and is finalizing on foreign players. We expect that the technical bench will put up a winning squad for the back-to-back Group H matches against Lesotho,” Kamanga said.
Kamanga said the association expects that the Copper Queens technical bench will also get the best of a busy FIFA Window calendar that will take them to Turkey for three preparatory matches during the Turkish Cup from February 13-22.
Kamanga expects the Bruce Mwape led Copper Queens technical bench to take advantage of the assignments by selecting players that are performing well in their clubs.
Kamanga reaffirmed the associations’ commitment to give the various national teams adequate preps to succeed.
“There is no substitute to good preparations if you want to go far in any tournament. The support that we gave the team in collaboration with government before and during the WAFCON more than demonstrated what results can be achieved with full support. We remain grateful to government for keeping its doors open even for the World Cup,” Kamanga said.
Kamanga said the diversity of the opposition at the Turkish Cup where they will play Slovenia, Venezuela and Uzbekistan, will give the coaches an opportunity to prepare for different possibilities for their tournament opponents.
At the Turkish Cup, Zambia will play Slovenia, Venezuela and Uzbekistan while the team will have more games lined up in April and June as part of fine tuning the squad.
Meanwhile Kamanga is hopeful that the under 20 team that is in Senegal for their second international friendly match after the 4-2 defeat to Nigeria on Friday will be ready for the Under-20 AFCON kicking off on February 19 in Egypt.
Kamanga said the Senegal assignment will provide another good test given the quality of the West African teams.