With six hot shot strikers on the list, the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year leads the African champions’ squad which has been called to commence its final phase of preparations for the defense of the title they won last February in a thriller in Libreville.
“It is a squad which coach Herve Renard believes has the capability to do us the honour – and that is to go to South Africa and have a successful run at defending our title,” said FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza when he unveiled the list at a press briefing at Football House Monday morning.
“When he handed me the list, he told me that as usual he would go to the team hotel two days earlier. He gave one reminder: don’t forget to ensure that you carry enough equipment and personal gear because we will only be returning home on 11th February,” Mwanza said.
The 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations opens on 19th January when hosts South Africa take on debutants Cape Verde at the FNB Stadium. The final, which will be played at FNB, is set for 10th February and in the words of The Fox, the day before Zambia’s scheduled return from the finals.
There were no major surprises in the squad as Renard kept faith in the men who took Zambia to her maiden triumph in Gabon. From the squad which won the Africa Cup only Evans Kangwa and Nyambe Mulenga miss out. Youngsters Shadreck Malambo and Salulani Phiri made the squad alongside 2012 Zambian Footballer of the Year Mukuka Mulenga.
The squad’s six strikers are Dutch based top man Jacob Mulenga of FC Utrecht, inform Orlando Pirates striker Collins Mbesuma, Barclays Premiership side Southampton forward Emmanuel Mayuka. Mayuka was top scorer at the finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. James Chamanga and skipper Katongo complete the strikers’ list.
The squad has three goalkeepers; Kennedy Mweene, Kalililo Kakonje and Joshua Titima.
The Full African Squad:
Goalkeepers: Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars, RSA), Kakonje Kalililo (Napsa Stars), Joshua Titima (Power Dynamos), Defenders: Nkausu Davies (Supersport United, RSA), Musonda Joseph (Golden Arrows, RSA), Mbola Emmanuel (FC Porto, Portugal), Sunzu Stoppila (TP Mazembe, DRC), Himoonde Hichani (TP Mazembe, DRC), Kampamba Chintu (Unattached), Phiri Salulani (Zanaco) Kasonde Francis (TP Mazembe, DRC), Midfielders: Chansa Isaac (Henan Jienye, China), Sinkala Nathan (TP Mazembe, DRC), Njobvu William (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel) Chivuta Noah (Free State Stars, RSA), Kalaba Rainford (TP Mazembe, DRC), Lungu Chisamba (FC Urals, Russia), Mulenga Mukuka (Power Dynamos), Malambo Shadreck (Red Arrows), Katongo Felix (Primero Agosto, Angola); Strikers: Mbesuma Collins (Orlando Pirates, RSA), Mulenga Jacob (FC Utrecht, Holland), Katongo Chris (Henan Jienye, China), Mayuka Emmanuel ( Southampton, England), Sakuwaha Jonas (El Mereikh, Sudan), Chamanga James (Dalian Shide, China)
Football Associatio of Zambia