By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE national futsal team has regrouped for a month-long camp to intensify preparations for the International championship slated for next month in Italy.
National Futsal team coach Andrea Cristoforetti has named a 15-member squad led by lethal striker Chota Chileshe who finished the 2023/24 FAZ Premier Futsal League as the top scorer.
Chileshe is joined by Jackson Simwami, Prince Lungu, Patrick Banda, James Mwila, Wiseman Phiri, Francis Chinyama, Michelo Kaampwe, Gift Chama, Boniface Ndhlovu.
Others are Leevan Nyirenda, Timothy Mwamba, Jackson Chitungu and Evaristo Mulolo.
The Zambia National Futsal squad is scheduled to compete at an international futsal championship slated for September 18 in the City of L’Aquila, in Central Italy.
Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI) will host the international futsal event which will be held under the theme “Integration through Sports” and will run up to September 24.
“The team is doing good. We finished the first week of training and on Monday we regroup again. We have another four weeks to prepare for the tournament in Italy which is essential because when we come back from Italy, we will be having the first leg of the Africa Cup qualifiers between the 4th and 6th of October,” Cristoforetti said.
“So it becomes essential to organize the training and get the best shape for all the games and the fact that we will play a couple of games in Italy will be important for us to test our level and understanding where we need to improve,” Cristoforetti said.
With the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) having confirmed that the 2024 Africa Futsal Cup of Nations qualifiers will be played in December this year, the tournament in Italy will give Zambia the tough test needed to prepare adequately.
The 2024 Futsal Africa Cup which will act as qualifiers for the 2024 Futsal World Cup will be played between January 29 to February 11 in Mozambique.
The Qualifiers return on December 11 and will run up to December 20th 2023 and will be played on home and away basis. The draws will be conducted later this month.