Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says playing Malawi in an international friendly match on Youth Day (today) will help him gauge how much work has been done with the local players since his unveiling on February 3.
And Micho has summoned eight foreign based players for the March 26 home game against Botswana.
Speaking during a pre-match conference at Football House, the gaffer fondly christened the Serbian Wolf said the Malawi will provide a good test as they were also preparing for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso.
“With the highest degree of respect we want to thank our brothers from Malawi for accepting to playing a friendly match here to help them prepare for Burkina Faso and for us prepare for Botswana,” he said.
“It is of mutual interest that in tomorrow’s (Thursday) match that we have an extremely competitive game to tell us where we are in our initial position.”
He added: “We have 35 local players preparing for CHAN and I would like to say that this match is not an intention to underrate our opponents. We remember at Cosafa we drew 2-2 but beat them on penalties and matches against Malawi have always been football thrillers and we expect a football thriller tomorrow.”
Micho said he had excused some players from Zesco United and Malawi for the friendly match as they had played too many games and wanted them to rest.
“We have left out some of the players in our team who have played too much football like Zanaco who have played in the Confederation Cup and Zesco who have played CAF champions league or teams that have played too much competitive games will not play tomorrow,” he said.
Micho also weighed in on the forthcoming back-to-back games against Botswana in the race for the Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
“We will have eight professionals (foreign based) players for the Botswana game but we shall not reveal until their clubs are informed,” he said.
“But four will have their last competitive assignments at their clubs this weekend when that is in question we will try and get them to play in the friendly’s against Uganda Mali or Ethiopia not all the games but at least one so that it can help us prepare competitively against Botswana.”
Micho will lead the Chipolopolo in his first assignment as the helm of Zambia in an international friendly match against the Flames of Malawi at Nkoloma Stadium.
He has been keeping an eye on the CHAN and Africa Cup of Nations qualification in his preparation and will give local players an opportunity to impress before he picks his final team that heads to Uganda for the Three-Nation Tournament.
At the Three-Nation tournament, Zambia will play Uganda and Mali before trekking to Ethiopia to play their final test match ahead of the March 26 titanic clash with Botswana at National Heroes Stadium.
Kickoff for today’s game is at 15:00 hours with charges pegged at K20 open wing while VIP will draw a K100 fee.