Zambia’s home-based stars begin camping, as Mweene warns Eagles

The Chipolopolo of Zambia at the weekend began their final preparation for the October 9 Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria with the home-based players moving into camp.

According to Zambian media, the 24 home-based players, who began camping on Saturday in Ndola, would be joined by their foreign-based counterparts a week before the clash slated for the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in the commercial city.

As part of his preparation for the game, Zambia’s interim coach, Wedson Nyirenda, has chosen his former team mate at Power Dynamos and fellow 1991 CAF Cup Winners Cup gold medal winner, Aggrey Chiyangi, as his first assistant.

The Nkana coach was axed from the Zambia fold when the team failed to qualify to the 2016 Cosafa Cup semifinals in Namibia in June.Kampamba Chintu will revert to second assistant after serving in the assistant role during George Lwandamina’s final game in charge on September 4 in a 2017 Africa Cup Group E qualifier against Kenya that ended 1-1 in Ndola.

However, even with the changes in coaching personnel, Chipolopolo’s veteran goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene, still believes his team will beat the Super Eagles on October 9.Mweene believes that being rated as underdogs in Group B will motivate Chipolopolo.

“We are in a tricky group but Zambia performs well when a lot of people have written them off. Even the teams we will be playing against like Nigeria and Algeria know that it won’t be easy to beat Zambia,” Mweene said.

He added: “We have accepted that tag of being underdogs. Being considered underdogs we would like to prove many people wrong. Knowing the way Zambia plays we will be equal to the task,” the Mamelodi Sundowns keeper said.Zambia advanced to the final stage of the Russia World Cup qualifiers after eliminating Sudan over two legs last year.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ defender, Leon Balogun is injured and doubtful for the game against Zambia.In a statement on their official website, Balogun’s club, Mainz 05, said the defender suffered a muscle strain injury in the first half of their 3-2 loss to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend.

But the good news is that the central defender will resume training early October, and may report for international duty if the Nigerian FA and Mainz can reach an agreement.Balogun will sit out the upcoming games against Gabala (September 29) plus this weekend’s Bundesliga game against VfL Wolfsburg.
The 28-year-old announced himself via social media that the injury is not as bad as first feared and he will return to action soon.



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