Stand-in Chipolopolo Coach Beston Chambeshi has outlined his objectives heading into the 2018 COSAFA Cup that will be stage in South Africa’s Limpopo province from May 27-June 9.
The Zambia assistant coach will be in charge of the four-time champions’ campaign while his boss Wedson Nyirenda supervises the junior team’s 2019 U20 AFCON qualifiers against Rwanda this month.
“The COSAFA is a big tournament, and for that matter, it is where we look at players who can play at a certain level like the AFCON. I want to see and identify which players can make the grade. We have called former Under-20s and those that have had brief stints at the national team and we will see if they can add value,” Chambeshi said.
Goalkeeper Mangani Banda of Zanaco, Zesco United defender Shemmy Mayembe and Buildcon utility player Ngosa Sunzu, who have become fringe players since Young Chipolopoloís 2017 U20 AFCON triumph as hosts and quarterfinal appearance at the South Korea 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup, are the notable junior players in the provisional 30-member team.
However, Chambeshi said his side was not heading to Polokwane to make up the numbers with pressure on the team to go one better than their 3-1 loss in the 2017 final to Zimbabwe last July in Rustenburg on Nyirenda’s watch.
“Every coach wants to win the tournament but we have to make sure we make a strong team that is going there to compete,” Chambeshi said.
“My target is to build a team that is disciplined and can deliver.
“We want to see players who can come and stay at national level because we have seen a lot of changes. We need players who are serious.”
But Chipolopolo must first negotiate their new nemesis Namibia, who have beaten them in their last two COSAFA Cup meetings.
Namibia and Zambia will meet in the quarterfinals on June 2 after they both enjoyed a preliminary round bye.
It will be the second of three meetings in 2018 after 1-1 drawing at 2018 CHAN in January while their next encounter will be a 2019 AFCON Group K qualifier this September in Windhoek.
“It is two different tournaments, yes we are meeting them at AFCON, but as at now we are meeting them at COSAFA and want to make sure we make a team that can compete at COSAFA,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chambeshi and his provisional team kick-off their preparations with a three-day camp in Lusaka starting on May 13.