THE absence of veteran striker Jacob Mulenga from the AfCON squad could have made him feel slighted because he has been in good form in Turkey, soccer analyst Ponga Liwewe has said.
Liwewe however said the absence of several prominent names from the past has been long overdue as most of them were being selected purely on past reputation and not current form.
“I think the squad selection is a blend of experienced players, and new players who have made their mark in the 2014 football season in the domestic league,” he said.
Liwewe said the selection of goalkeepers would follow the form book and Kennedy Mweene should continue as first choice goalkeeper during the tournament.
He said central defence was cause for concern following Stopilla Sunzu’s recent injury and worse his reliable defensive partner Nyambe Mulenga is out of the tournament following a road accident.
“Munthali was not always selected for Nkana and Bronson Chama hardly played last season. Davies Nkausu has played this position before, so he could be chosen to play alongside Sunzu,” he said.
Liwewe said the biggest challenge would be to get the team to play as a unit, adding that the process usually took time.
He said the team that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 played in three tournaments before they were welded together as a squad capable of winning the AfCON.
“Zambia’s team in Equatorial Guinea is a team in transition as the change from the old guard to the new is gradually implemented,” he said.
Liwewe said goal scoring appeared to be the main deficiency in the Zambian squad with Christopher Katongo no longer available and Emmanuel Mayuka a shadow of the player he was in 2012.
“The lack of game time for the overseas players remains cause for concern and Honor Janza may opt to give either Ronald Kampamba or Jackson Mwanza a starting role given their domestic scoring records, but being their first nation’s cup they will be in a position where they can either sink or swim,” he said. Liwewe said both Kampamba and Mwanza would likely discover that there was a vast gap between local football and the top tier of the African game.