ZAMBIA begins her campaign for a debut appearance at the Russia 2018 World Cup this evening against Sudan in the second round first leg qualifier at Marewa Stadium in Khartoum.
Coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina has stated that the team’s focus is to grab a win despite playing on a roughly patched pitch.
Lwandamina said Sudan was a strong team but the Chipolopolo Boys will try their best to ensure they do not concede goals.
He said it would be easier to complete the job in Ndola on Sunday if they record a win in tonight’s encounter.
“We have no preference but to fight for a win. It will be dangerous for us in Ndola if we lose here. I know Zambia has always struggled to beat Sudan on their backyard, but I will not let history rule. The boys should rewrite history,” he said. He said the change of the stadium was not an intimidating factor to the boys because they were mentally and physically ready.
“We will be using a bad pitch but that gives us the reason to fight harder. The team will not lose grip that easily,” he said.
Captain Rainford Kalaba will lead the 23-man squad that includes in-form enterprising striker Collins Mbesuma.
Lwandamina hopes Mbesuma will replicate his scoring form at his South African club Mpumalanga Black Aces and produce a deadly combination with Zambian league top scorer Winston Kalengo.
He will also depend on towering defender Stopilla Sunzu, Aaron Katebe, Dauti Musekwa, Boyd Mkandawire and Kabaso Chongo to deter Sudan from finding the back of the net.
However, the team will be without Russia-based midfielder Chisamba Lungu who has been excused due to travelling challenges.
The two sides last met in the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers, but Sudan were punished for using an ineligible player in a game they beat Zambia 2-0.
Since 1968, Zambia has met Sudan six times in World Cup qualifying stage, recording three wins and a draw
The 23-man squad has goalkeepers Kennedy Mweene (Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA), Toaster Nsabata (Zanaco), Jacob Banda (Zesco United).
Defenders: Kabaso Chongo (TP Mazembe/DRC), Dauti Musekwa (Zesco United), Boyd Mkandawire (Napsa Stars), Aaron Katebe (Maghreb Atlantic/Morocco), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Buchizya Mfune (Green Buffaloes), Stoppila Sunzu (Lille/France).
Midfielders: Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe/DRC), Donashano Malama (Nkana), Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe/DRC), Jack Chirwa (Green Buffaloes), Lubambo Musonda (Gandzasar Kapan/Armenia), Mwape Mwelwa (Zesco United), Paul Katema (Red Arrows); Spencer Sautu (Green Eagles).
Forwards: Winston Kalengo (Zesco United), Collins Mbesuma (Mpumalanga Black Aces/RSA), Conlyde Luchanga (Lusaka Dynamos), Evans Kangwa (Hapoel Ranaana/Israel) and Festus Mbewe (Red Arrows).