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AT FULL STRENGTH

…as Patson, Lameck, Frankie and Mphande join camp in Saudi Arabia 

…as Patson, Lameck, Frankie and Mphande join camp in Saudi Arabia 

By MICHAEL MIYOBA

WITH only eight days before the much-anticipated Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Ivory Coast, Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant can boast of having a full squad after the European-based playerrs joined camp in Saudi Arabia.

Leicester City striker Patson Daka, Italy-based Lameck Banda, defender Frankie Musonda and Gift Mphande completed the 27-member squad summoned by Grant as AFCON preps intensify.

The Chipolopolo will play Cameroon on January 9 in an international friendly as part of preparations for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Speaking in an interview with FAZ Media, Lameck Banda, who has been a key player for the Serial A side Lecce said he was happy to have joined his colleagues in Saudi Arabia.

Banda, who scored two goals and four assists in 13 matches for Lecce said he would work hard to contribute positively to the national team. 

“The most important thing is to work hard. The way I work hard at the club, I also have to bring that hard work to the national team,” Banda said.

“For me, the game against Congo DR will just be okay. All the games are important for us there is nothing like this is Congo DR or this is Morocco, us we are always ready to play,” he said.

Meanwhile, midfielder Miguel Chaiwa said he was looking forward to prove himself after making the final squad.

“It will be up to the coach. If I’m given a chance I will grab it with my two hands. I’ve played champions league and I have played in the national team so I’ve seen the level and what I’m supposed to do because all those minutes I’ve played in the champions league and in the national team I’ve learned something so it it’s all about the coach’s decision and if he gives me a chance I’m going to prove,” Chaiwa said.

The 19-year-old Young Boys star who is the youngest in the Chipolopo squad encouraged Zambians to rally behind the boys to inspire them to deliver.

The Chipolopolo will compete in Group F alongside Morocco, Tanzania and Congo DR.

Zambia opens its AFCON account on January 17 against Congo DR before facing Tanzania four days later with the final group match against the Atlas Lions of Morocco on January 24.

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