Senegal will give us insight of Ghana’
CHIPOLOPOLO players have said Wednesday’s international friendly against Senegal will give them an insight of what to expect in the final Group D 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
And four Democratic Republic of Congo-based players – Stopilla Sunzu, Hichani Himoonde, Nathan Sinkala and Rainford Kalaba accompanied by national team assistant coach Masautso Mwale, team physiotherapist Gibson Chaloba and logistics and equipment manager Stanley Kaseko left Ndola for Paris yesterday aboard a South African Airways flight.
Defender Himonde said the international friendly is important because it will give the Chipolopolo an understanding of what to expect from the Black Stars on September 6 at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
He said like Ghana, the core of the Senegalese players are based in Europe and the match will gift the Chipolopolo with stiff competition.
“It will give us a picture of what to expect from Ghana because the Senegal squad has most of its players playing for clubs in Europe just like the Ghanaians,” Himoonde said.
He said Zambia’s 2-1 win over Senegal at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will be put behind when the teams.
His partner in defence both at club and country, Sunzu said he was excited to make a comeback to the national team and was ready to play for the country.
Sunzu said the international friendly was important for the Chipolopolo because it is a build up to the crucial match against the Black Stars.
“It will be a tough game but this will help us in the build up to the Ghana match. I m ready to play and I think Ghana cannot beat us” said Sunzu, who has recovered from a knee injury.
Kalaba said: “The Ghana game is very crucial but the friendly will help in building confidence before our final group game. It is not going to be easy to play in Ghana but this friendly will give us a lift.”
Equally, Kalaba missed Zambia’s two previous 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Sinkala said the significance of the friendly is that it will give the Chipolopolo and the nation the momentum going into the final group qualifier.
“Everyone will be focused on this game to give us confidence for the Ghana match. We will work hard although it is not going to be easy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senegal coach Alain Giresse says the international friendly against Zambia will be fiercely contested as it will set the tone for both teams’ penultimate World Cup qualifiers.
Giresse said he has named a strong squad because of the quality of the opposition.
“It is not long ago that Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon against all odds and we must remember on the way to the final they beat us (Senegal) in the preliminary round.
“Zambia is a strong team perhaps one of the best on the continent even though they did not perform well at the last Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. I know they don’t have a lot of players in Europe but despite that they are a closely knit quality side,” Giresse said.
Chipolopolo beat Teranga Lions 2-1 in the opening game at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.
He told Agence de Presse Senegalaise that French compatriot Herve Renard has turned the Chipolopolo’s into one of the best teams on the continent.
“I think Renard has generally done a good job with Zambia enhancing the team’s profile he loves his job and is ambitious,” Giresse said.
He also defended his decision to ignore Chelsea striker Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse of Newcastle United.
“I have decided to do without the two for the friendly against Zambia. Senegal has much choice in target men and I’m giving chance to others to prove themselves ahead of the for the World Cup qualifier,” the former Gabon and Mali coach said.
The Teranga Lions face the Chipolopolo at Saint – Leu-la-Foret, near Paris, in a build-up match for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers slated for September.
Senegal, who will face Uganda need a draw to progress to the final round while, Zambia with a point behind leaders Ghana must beat the Black Stars to qualify.