Zambia coach Herve Renard has told his players to take next week’s international friendly seriously as it would kicked-off their preparations for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Frenchman said on his first official duties since his re-appointment as Zambia coach that Nigeria were a strong side, and should not be treated lightly when the two clash Tuesday in Kaduna.
The coach said he had explained to the local players called to camp that they needed to fight for places into the team, adding that from the 23 called, 20 will be picked from the locally and foreign-based to make the Nigeria trip.
Renard said when the team sets up camp in South Africa ahead of the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon Africa Cup, he would try to organise for the team’s friendly matches with good local teams.
Zambia names 23 players for Nigeria test
The Frenchman has handed call-ups to Felix Katongo and Clifford Mulenga, who were ignored former coach Dario Bonetti, during his reign.
Surprisingly, Renard making a second stint in charge of the Chipolopolo also left out midfielder Chintu Kampamba, Justine Zulu, Fwayo Tembo and Jonas Sakuwaha for the trip to Africa’s most populous country.
Three players will be dropped from the squad before the team emplanes for Nigeria on November 13, two days before the encounter.
The Zambians are housed in Group A alongside co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Senegal for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.