Zambia to Attend World Cup Qualifier in War-torn Sudan

Zambia is planning a charter flight to Sudan for Chipolopolo’s first 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

The announcement comes as the team enters the final stretch of preparations with all its key players arriving at their Johannesburg camp.

Football Association of Zambia communications officer Erick Mwanza made the announcement in Lusaka on Monday. Mwanza said the travel arrangements were being done in consultation with the Zambian government through the Ministry of Sport and Youth.

He indicated that the team was expected to be in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, either Wednesday or Thursday to allow time for acclimatisation.

Captain Christopher Katongo and striker James Chamanga, both playing in the Chinese league, arrived on Tuesday to complete the team list coach Herve Renard drafted.

Switzerland-based highly rated striker Emmanuel Mayuka boosted team morale when he showed up at the weekend along side Portugal-based defender Emmanuel Mbola. Mbola was suspended by FIFA for four months, a development that saw the player miss out on the Africa Cup in January, after it was discovered he signed professional contracts with more than two clubs.

His presence in the African champions’ camp seals problems in the left wingback department where Joseph Musonda, though present, is doubtful to start against Sudan owing to fitness problems having recently recovered from long term injury.

Reports from South Africa indicate coach Herve Renard is positive his team will emerge strong against Sudan on June 2 before hosting Ghana at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium a week later in Group D of the qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Ghana stand-in-captain Sulley Muntari told local media the Black Stars were targeting a third straight appearance at the biggest sporting event.

Muntari said the Ghanaians were aware that meeting Zambia would not be easy because their opponents stayed back and defended before depending on counter attacks.

The Inter Milan star, however, said the Ghanaian players know what to expect in their match against Lesotho this weekend and later against Zambia on June.

Ghana reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup and is bidding for a third place while Zambia is yet to make an appearance at the competition.

Only Cameroon, Nigeria and Tunisa have made successive showings at the World Cup.

Ghana coach has since named a 24 member contingent that shifted training base from Accra to Kumasi where they host Lesotho on June 2 before heading out to Johannesburg in readiness for the trip to Ndola in Zambia.

Ghana and Zambia’s recent meeting was at the Africa Cup of Nations where the latter emerged 1-0 victors in the semi-finals of the competition.

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