African champions Zambia have announced a strong 24-member team to face Uganda in the final round of the qualifiers for the 2013 edition but there is concern over the inclusion of midfielder Nathan Sinkala’s fitness.
The team is expected to go into residential camp on September 2 for a week’s intense training programme before tackling the Cranes of Uganda in the first leg.
Apart from Sinkala, who was recently admitted to a South African hospital for a nerve infection, team captain Christopher Katongo’s fitness is also under close check as the African Cup of Nations’ player of the tournament missed out on a crucial international friendly that Zambia lost to South Korea 1-2.
Renard has also ignored experienced goalkeeper Kalililo Kakonje for Red Arrows’ Danny Munyao and Joshua Titima of Power Dynamos and has since given the nod to Holland-based striker Jacob Mulenga who is making a return to the international fold after almost a year’s absence.
Mulenga’s return was delayed after he missed the Korea friendly to attend to a personal problem in Zambia.
The Frenchman has discarded the central partnership of Aaron Katebe and Nyambe Mulenga after the duo disappointed in Korea. Instead, Renard has romped in former Green Buffaloes defender Lawrence Phiri to reinforce the defence.Phiri now features for Progresso in Angola
Renard will have his first pick of Stophilla Sunzu and Hichani Himoonde back for Uganda after the duo missed the Korea trip due to club commitment as TP Mazembe was engaged in a CAF Champions League fixture.
A local Zambian football website bolazambia, meanwhile, reports that Uganda will camp in Botswana for two weeks before the two team clash at the Levy Stadium in Ndola on September 8.
Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars), Joshua Titima (Power Dynamos) and Danny Munyau (Red Arrows)
Davies Nkausu (SuperSport United) Emmanuel Mbola (FC Porto), Joseph Musonda (Golden Arrows), Stoppila Sunzu (TP Mazembe), Hichani Himonde (TP Mazembe), Lawrence Phiri (FC Progresso) and Chintu Kampamba. (Bidvest Wits).
Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe), William Njobvu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Thomas Nyirenda (Power Dynamos), Noah Chivuta (Free State Stars), Isaac Chansa (Henan Jianye F.C), Chisamba Lungu (FC Ural), Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe), Felix Katongo (Athletico Petro), Francis Kasonde (TP Mazembe).
Chris Katongo (Henan Jianye), Jonas Sakuwaha (Al Merreikh), Jacob Mulenga (FC Utrecht), Emmanuel Mayuka (Young Boys) and James Chamanga (Dalian Shide).