The call up came as a surprise – Spencer Sautu
Chipolopolo winger Spencer Sautu says he was surprised to be included in the final squad for the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament.
Sautu was arguably the man of the match in the friendly game between Micho’s Chipolopolo and the Wedson Nyirenda coached fans select. After his brilliant showing, Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic added him to his squad.
Sautu who will be making his second tournament appearance at the ‘AFCON for local players’ as he was part of George Lwandamina’s squad in 2016 believes mental strength will be key for the Copper Bullets at the tournament to achieve their targets.
“Obviously as you are aware it’s a tournament which brings all local players from different countries together, it’s not going to be easy it’s a tournament which I have been there once in 2016 with coach George Lwandamina and now it will be my second time going there it won’t be easy for us going there cause I know how it is when it comes to this tournament. We just have to be mentally strong so that as we go there as a team we go and achieve what we want to achieve as a team,” Sautu told the ZamFoot Crew at the Kenneth Kaunda international airport shortly before departure.
“With me, I never thought of making it on the team I have been injured I was not playing football so for me coming here really came as a surprise cause I know this is when am just trying to push myself to the level where I know to say that’s how I play football, so for me, it just comes as the surprise,” he added.
Sautu was in action on Sunday for Power Dynamos and assisted the first goal for Godfrey Ngwenya before coming to play a part in the friendly match on Monday. The Boy from Mamba has however revealed that it was not an easy endeavor for him to do.
“It’s because of what I was doing on the pitch cause for the past two, three games for the club I have been playing from start to finish so am sure the input that I have been putting at the club has helped me, it also contributed to me playing that game which I played on Monday but it was not easy for me you know when you are just from playing a match then you start off traveling from Kitwe to Lusaka so it also took courage and determination which I had in me to say that should not bring me down when allowed to play football let me play my football lungs out,” he said.
“In every tournament for every team all you want is just to win the tournament, so for us now we just have to do better than we did last time if not win the tournament better we reach the finals to surpass what we achieved the last time the team was at CHAN.”
Sautu went on to urge the fans to continue supporting and believing in the team.
“The words that I can give the fans, they just have to continue believing in us and I just want to say thanks for everyone who voted for me and believe in me that I can do it, I salute me.”
The team will participate in a pre-tournament competition that draws participation from Cameroon, Niger, and Uganda. The pre-CHAN tournament runs from January 1-8.
Sautu feels the four-team tournament will be a plus for the youthful Chipoloplolo side.
”I’m sure if you have seen this team its full of players that have not played international games, so it will be one of the best platforms for these guys who we are together with here for them to feel the experience because for me it will be more like there are already playing the CHAN tournament it will be good for us heading into the tournament with the other guys testing how it is when you are playing at that high level. For me it’s something that will help us a lot because am sure heading into the main tournament everyone now will be aware of what is expected at the tournament,” he said.
In the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament, Zambia is in Group D alongside Guinea, Tanzania, and Namibia and will be based in Limbe. The CHAN runs from January 16 to February 10.
Zambia’s best CHAN outing was the third-place finish in 2009 during the inaugural tournament under Frenchman Herve Renard while George Lwandamina and Wedson Nyirenda reached the quarter-finals in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
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