Sport

Zambia, Ghana Gear Up for World Cup Qualifiers

Zambia and Ghana upped their tempo for next month’s Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers with both sides naming their teams for pending encounters within a space of 24 hours.

First, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah announced 30 players in the provisional team on Wednesday and 24 hours later his counterpart Herve Renard released a list of 26 players for June fixtures.

That’s just hours after Zambia had played to a goalless against Angola in a warm up match in Luanda.

What is interesting is that the two teams have a fixture each in Group D before they meet a week later but it is events in their respective camps that are grabbing headlines.

This is obvious. Zambia, the reigning African champions, and Ghana, the 2010 World Cup quarterfinalist, are the two teams favoured to compete for top place in Group D.

In Renard’s team, only Joseph Musonda, now recovering from injury, is missing from the starting 11 that represented Chipolopolo at the Africa Cup in Gabon.

And in his place, Renard has romped in the massively talented Emmanuel Mbola currently on loan from DR Congo’s TP Mazembe to FC Porto in Portugal.

Mbola missed the Africa Cup of Nations following a transfer row involving three clubs Pyunik Yerevan (Armenia), Mining Rangers (Zambia) and TP Mazembe (DR Congo) as he served a four month suspension for signing contracts with the three teams.

Renard has also surprised many by leaving Mbesuma, a striker that has averaged better than his colleagues at club level, since Zambia left Gabon in February.

There are some inclusions, which however, may not make the final 18-man team for Renard. Zambian champions Power Dynamos is contributing captain Joseph Sitali and defensive midfielder Thomas Nyirenda. 2011 runners up have contributed third choice goalkeeper Danny Munyao who takes over from Joshua Titima.

Belgium-bound striker Roger Kola has also been given the nod after missing out on the Africa Cup as Given Singuluma of TP Mazembe.

Zambia is expected to set up a camping base in South Africa next week where it should make final touched before flying out to Khartoum to face Sudan on June 2 and return home for the Ghana fixture at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on June 9.

While the Zambian team is intact, Ghana has been forced to make drastic changes in the absence of key players Asamoah Gyan, John Panstil, John Mensah, Andre Ayew and Michael Essien who are all staying away for various reasons.

Gyan is in a self-imposed retirement after enduring scathing attacks from Ghana fans for poor performance and missing a crucial penalty in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup against Zambia.

Ayew and Mensah are injured while Essien is still keeping international duty at bay with Panstil left out completely.

Before meeting Zambia, Ghana will host Lesotho in Kumasi on June 2.

 

Team Lists

Zambia

Goalkeepers:

Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars, South Africa), Kalililo Kakonje (Napsa Stars) and Danny Munyau  (Red Arrows).

Defenders:

Kampamba Chintu (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Davies Nkausu (SuperSport United, South Africa), Emmanuel M’bola (Porto, Portugal), Stoppilla Sunzu, Hichani Himoonde Francis Kasonde (from TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Aaron Katebe (Hwange, Zimbabwe) and Nyambe Mulenga (Zesco United)

Midfielders:

Raindford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe,DR Congo) William Njobvu (Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona, Israel), Isaac Chansa (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Thomas Niyrenda, Joseph Sitali (Both Power Dynamos), Chisamba Lungu (FC Ural,Russia) Noah Chivuta (Free State Stars, South Africa), Felix Katongo (Petro Atletico, Angola)

Strikers:

Jonas Sakuwaha (El Merreikh, Sudan), Chistopher Katongo (Henan Jianye, China), James Chamanga  (Dalian Shide,China), Emmanuel Mayuka (BSC Young Boys, Switzerland) Rodger Kola (KAA Gent, Belgium) Given Singuluma (TP Mazembe, DR Congo)

Ghana

Goalkeepers:

Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals), Robert Dabuo (Wa All Stars), Adam Kwarasey Ernest Sowah (Stromsgodset), Ernest Sowah (Berekum Chelsea)

Defenders:

Daniel Addo (Standard Liege), Lee Addy (Dalian Aerbin), Harrison Afful (Esperance), Masawudu Alhassan (Genoa), Richard Kissi Boateng (Berekum Chelsea), John Boye (Rennes),Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Rashid Sumaila (Dwarfs), Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim)

Midfielders:

Albert Adomah (Bristol City), Anthony Annan (Vitesse),Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese),Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese),Christian Atsu (Rio Ave), Derek Boateng (Dnipro),Rabiu Mohammed (Evian), Richard Mpong (Medeama),Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Ishamel Yartey (Servette)

Attackers:

Jordan Ayew (Marseille), Dominic Adiyiah (Arsenal Kyiv),Ben Acheampong (Kotoko),Emmanuel Baffour (New Edubiase), Emmanuel Clottey (Berekum Chelsea)

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