Friday, April 12, 2024

Simukonda disappointed by club’s failure to release U23 players

COACH Fighton Simukonda has expressed disappointment at the decision by some clubs not to release players for the Zambia Under-23 soccer team training camp.

The team is preparing for the Congo Brazzaville 2015 All-Africa Games (AAG) and Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Only 19 players from the summoned 34 have so far reported for camp in Lusaka, a situation that has irked Simukonda. He said the decision by clubs to hold on to the players would see them miss out from being selected into the final team.

Zambia play Madagascar away on February 21 in the first leg preliminary round of the AAG qualifiers while in the Olympic qualifiers, the team await the winners of the tie involving Botswana and Kenya.

“The clubs should realise that the players lose out on the opportunity of featuring in the national team. A player also misses out on being exposed at an international level and I believe clubs even perform even better by having many players playing in the national team,” he said.

He said in an interview after a training session at the Olympic Youth development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka yesterday that he is expecting the five players, who were part of the Chipolopolo squad at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, to join camp by Monday.

Simukonda has urged the players who have reported for camp to work hard if they are to be picked in the final team ahead of the qualifiers. He also expressed happiness with the fitness levels of the 19 players in camp but that there was need to work on a few technical hitches.

“I hope the remaining players will report soon so that we can move at the same pace looking at the time available. But so far so good, I am happy with what I have seen and remain confident of qualifying for both competitions. However, the players must work hard.

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