Zambia Date India, Bafana Bafana Preparing for AfCON 2012

The Zambia national soccer team will play South Africa, as well as camp in India next month, as part of preparations for the defence Africa Cup championship at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) chief executive officer Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the mining giant has arranged for the national team’s camping in Goa, where the team had similar training prior to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

And Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Erick Mwanza has said South Africa will host the friendly on November 14.

On the India outing, Janakaraj confirmed during a KCM media workshop in Chingola that sending the national team for camping in India is part of the company’s contribution to helping coach Herve Renard nurture young talent and ensure Zambia mounts a strong defence of the title next January in South Africa.

“There are arrangements right now which are going to take the Zambia national team to India in November. We have a very structured programme in helping young talent to improve. We genuinely want football standards to improve in Zambia and we want to produce some more good players,” Janakaraj said.

He said KCM is currently working out some logistics with the Football Association of Zambia on the duration and number of warm-up games the team will play with the Indian national team and top professional sides.

India has some of the best training facilities in the world.

During last year’s training camp, Zambia played against the Goa select XI and the India national team, winning 4-1 and 4-0 respectively.

Hichani Himoonde, Chisamba Lungu and Nathan Sinkala were the revelations of the India training camp and Renard drafted them into the senior team. The trio was instrumental in guiding the Chipolopolo to the continental glory at the 2012 finals.

And on the friendly against South Africa, Mwanza said the game is important because it will give Renard an opportunity to assess players who can be included in the national team.

Mwanza said FAZ is hoping to field a full-strength Chipolopolo since the match will be played on a FIFA day that allows teams to call their foreign-based players.

“But it must be noted that players can only join the team 48 hours before the game because most them will have engagements with their teams shortly before the FIFA day,” he said.

He said Renard is hoping to name the team that will go for the final training phase after the friendly match against Bafana Bafana.

“Once again the coach wants to pick more players from the local teams so this game against South Africa is an opportunity for the players to show what they can do,” he said.

He said FAZ is awaiting communication from the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) on the venue for the match.

Mwanza said FAZ will ensure the team is adequately prepared for the continental championship because the association is aware of the tough competition that will be at the Africa Cup.

He said the association has set high standards in terms of training camp for the Chipolopolo and this year will not be an exceptional.

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

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