Zambia Jet Into Kampala Without Star Midfielder Rainford Kalaba

African champions arrived in Uganda on Thursday night with the reality that playmaker Rainford Kalaba will not play the crucial match at Namboole Stadium for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

According to the Zambia Daily Maily, the unavailability of midfield maestro Kalaba for tomorrow’s decisive qualifier against Uganda is a blow to coach Herve Renard but he contends he has quality players to replace the playmaker.

Kalaba, who has been influential in the African champion’s success, will miss tomorrow’s crucial 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final round return leg against Uganda due to an injury.

The TP Mazembe player suffered a groin injury last weekend in his club’s CAF Orange Champions League semi-final match against Tunisian giants Esperance.

Renard said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday before departure for Kampala that the talented midfielder’s absence will be felt because he is an important member of the team.

“There is no doubt Rainford is an influential player for us and will obviously be missed but there is no need to panic we have good players who can play in his position although they might not have the same attributes as Rainford,” Renard said.

He said midfielders Chisamba Lungu, William Njobvu and Felix Katongo are capable of playing in Kalaba’s position.

“It is unfortunate to lose a player like Rainford at this crucial time but his absence will give chance to others to impress. We must understand that injuries are part of the game so there is nothing we can do about it but we just have to cope without him,” he said.

Chipolopolo will train at Namboole Stadium at 16:00 hours local time which is 15:00 hours in Zambia.

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