The Chipolopolo Boys will be taking the two upcoming friendly matches with the seriousness they deserve as they hope to shape up for next years’ AFCON qualifiers.
Six local based players and TP Mazembe defender Tandi Mwape left for Mali aboard Ethiopian Airlines on Monday afternoon.
Red Arrows players will travel on Tuesday after having been away in Angola for their CAF Champions League assignment against Premiero de Agosto while other players will fly directly to Bamako from their bases.
Assistant coach Moses Sichone has urged the players to use this opportunity wisely and state their case.
Sichone wants the players to give their all and show their readiness to represent the nation and the 17 million + Zambians.
“Well as everybody is aware we are preparing for the AFCON qualifiers, It’s a good thing that Mali has accepted to play us. It’s important for players to use this opportunity to see which players we need and can use in the upcoming games,” he said.
“I hope all the players understand the importance of these games. I expect the players to give everything and show that they are ready to play for the country.”
“We can not do without the support of the fans. It’s important to have them. We hope every fan out there will keep supporting us,” he added.
Italy based wing wizard Lameck Banda and former captain Lubambo Musonda have been knocked out due to Injuries.
“It’s unfortunate that we have the two injuries but that’s why we called a good number and they will be replaced. I can only wish them a quick recovery and hope to have them in the next camp,” Sichone said.
Power Dynamos midfielder Joshua Mutale is among the few locally based players who have made the cut and he is ecstatic at the possibility of playing alongside the country’s exports like Patson Daka, Fashion Sakala, Klings Kangwa and the captain Enock Mwepu.
“I’m very happy, It’s a good motivation to make it to the team and play with foreign based players. It shows that hard work really pays off. It’s a dream come true,” he said.
“It’s a very good test, These games mean a lot to us, these are preparations for the AFCON qualifiers and we will surely do our best.”
Zambia will play Mali on September 23 and 26 in Bamako after the cancellation of the Benghazi outing on account of safety concerns.
The Chipolopolo will square off with the Eagles of Mali in back-to-back engagements that will see both teams field their strongest squads as part of preparations for the Ivory Coast 2023 (to be played in January 2024) Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.