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Asanovic: Team Picked, Now We Must Work

Chipolopolo coach Aljosa Asanovic says he has picked the best team possible for next month’s 2023 AFCON Group H qualifiers against Cote d’Ivoire and Comoros.

The Croat-born coach on May 23 named his 25-member team for the away date against The Elephants in Yamoussoukro on June 3 and the home game against Comoros on June 7 in Lusaka.

“We will be ready. All we need is to just focus and play at a higher level,” Asanovic said.

Asanovic also revealed that he had courted two 2012 AFCON veterans for the June qualifiers but hit a set-back.

Defender Stopilla Sunzu could not make it because he would have been subjected to 21-day COVID 19 quarantine upon returning to his base in China.

Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene cannot make it as he is dealing with some contractual and club commitments back at South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

Meanwhile, injuries have ruled out midfielders Clatous Chama of Simba SC in Tanzania and Augustine Mulenga of Amazulu in South Africa.

Furthermore, defender Aime Mabika’s naturalization process to play for Zambia is in the bureaucratic mill at Home Affairs.

Mabika, of USA MLS club Inter Miami, was born in Lusaka to Congo DR parents and spent the first eight years of his life in Zamia before his family moved to America.

He made his debut in last March’s 3-1 friendly win over Congo-Brazzaville together with another call-up from the diaspora Frankie Musonda of Scotland second tier club Raith Rovers who has received his papers to play for Chipolopolo.

GOALKEEPERS: Toaster Nsabata (Sekhukhune, South Africa), Charles Kalumba (Red Arrows), Cyril Chibwe (Unattached)

DEFENDER: Frankie Musonda (Raith Rovers, Scotland), Tandi Mwape (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Miguel Chaiwa (Athletico), Dominic Chanda (Kabwe Warriors), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Shemmy Mayembe (Zesco United)

MIDFIELDERS: Roderick Kabwe (Sekhukhune-South Africa), Enock Mwepu (Brighton, England), Emmanuel Banda (Djurgardens,Sweden), Kings Kangwa (Arsenal Tula, Russia), Rally Bwalya (Simba SC, Tanzania), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors), Lubambo Musonda (AC Horsens, Denmark), Kelvin Kampamba, Spencer Sautu, (both Zesco United), Lameck Banda (Maccabi Petah Tikva,Israel), Edward Chilufya (Midtjylland,Denmark)

STRIKERS: Fashion Sakala (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Evans Kangwa (Arsenal Tula, Russia), Ricky Banda (Red Arrows), Gamphani Lungu (SuperSport United, South Africa), Patson Daka (Leicester City, England)