I respect Jacob’s decision – coach


ZAMBIA national team interim coach George Lwandamina says he respects striker Jacob Mulenga’s decision not to heed the call up because a player needs to be in the right frame of mind to deliver.

Lwandamina yesterday said that in football, the mental preparedness was more important than the physical aspect.

“I respect Mulenga’s decision not to be part of this Kenya squad because according to him, he is not in a right frame of mind. He maybe physically ready but the mind is not, so he cannot be blamed. I believe the player’s psychological preparedness is vital for him to deliver,” he said.

He however said he will still consider Mulenga for future assignments.

“Mulenga is a great player who is doing well at his club. He has already proved what he can do for Zambia.  He will still be considered for future assignments,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lwandamina said South Africa- based striker Collins Mbesuma would add value to the team’s performance against Kenya.

“Mbesuma has really improved his striking force and we need a sharp striker.  We will be playing away hence need more goals to grab a win.I am positive that he will help the team get the needed results,” he said.

And Lwandamina has described Walter Bwalya as a promising striker that can deliver positive results for the nation.

“Bwalya’s performance in training has been good. He has shown promise to become a good striker. He is focused. What he needs is more game time to gain confidence,” he said.

The Chipolopolo interim coach said TP Mazembe striker Given Singuluma is missing on the list, but not because he is lagging in form.

“I cannot manage to call every player for each competition. He may not be part of this squad but will be called for future assignments. It has nothing to do with him being in form or not,” he said.

Lwandamina said all the players were responding well to training and have regained fitness.

“I am impressed with the players commitment to training. Their fitness level is very good. I hope to incorporate the local and pros in three or four sessions before leaving for Kenya. My strategy is to go with a formidable squad,” he said.

He re-emphasised that no player whether local or professional has a definite slot in the final squad.

He said only those players that will prove their worth will make the final squad.

The Chipolopolo Boys face Kenya in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on September 6 in Nairobi

Zambia, Kenya, Congo-Brazzaville and Guinea Bissau are tied on one point each heading into match day two of the qualifiers.

Chipolopolo kicked off the qualifiers with a scoreless home draw against Guinea Bissau.