Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Andrew Kamanga has confirmed that plans are in place to ensure their national team, Chipolopolo camp in Europe ahead of their October 7 Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup encounter against Nigeria.
Kamanga told Fazfootball.com that 2017 had so far been an exciting year on the soccer calendar with national teams across the stream delivering results.
“We have only got four weeks before the Nigeria game, so we are looking at options in terms of where we can camp the team and get the best value. As you know some of the players are already in Europe, they did not come with us they have gone back. We may see it fit to camp the team in Europe so that it is easier to prepare the team adequately and it is actually shorter to go into Europe from Nigeria,” Kamanga said.
The FAZ boss said that Zambia could draw motivation from being the only team in Group B that had never been to the World Cup.
“We are putting in every effort to make sure that this team is adequately prepared as we face Nigeria, which for me is the do or die game whoever wins that game will be assured of going to Russia 2018,” he said.
“But most interestingly in this group, we are the only ones who have never been to the World Cup, but with the favor we continue to draw, we should be able to qualify, come November because we have the advantage of playing Cameroun in the final round.”
He added; “The must win game is Nigeria, and I think the team has demonstrated the capacity to win away from home. It was not an easy game, Algeria is a highly rated team, they have got a lot of skillful players and I think our team was up to the task and I think they put in a marvelous performance.”
He hailed the blend of experienced players from the 2012 Africa Cup winning side, local players that campaigned at the COSAFA and also the CHAN group and under-20 stars that gelled to see off Algeria over two legs.
“Hats off to the technical bench, we have had issues around player selection but now I think the coach was really spoilt for selection and I think we have now raised the level of competition for the senior national team because the players from the under-20 are also knocking,” he said.
“We have blended the team with players from the CHAN, Cosafa as well as those playing in Europe so it is a very good mix. There are players who are still there I think Stoppilla Sunzu, Chisamba Lungu and Kennedy Mweene who has done a fantastic job to take the younger ones under his wing.”
Kamanga said that 2017 was proving a successful year on the football calendar.
“This year has been a very exciting year looking at the results that we have achieved, starting with the U-20 who won the Africa Cup and went to compete at the World Cup where they finished in the quarter final. The senior team also finished second in the Cosafa, qualified to the CHAN and we had the U-17 finishing as Cosafa champions,” he said.
“The senior team in earnest has done very well in this stage of the World Cup qualifiers; we are just three points behind Nigeria with two games to go.
The Chipolopolo will be away in Uyo to table toppers Nigeria in a Group B encounter.
Nigeria has 10 points while second placed Zambia has seven points with Cameroun lying third with three points while Algeria is rock bottom with a point.