Zambia deploys CHAN team for Geingob Cup
By Michael Uugwanga
NEW Zambian coach Aggrey Chiyangi has revealed that he is coming with a team of formidable local-based players to contest the Dr Hage Geingob Cup against the Brave Warriors at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday.
Chiyangi also said the local-based play that will come to Windhoek will be the same ones that will be representing Zambia at the 2020 Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon.
Like Zambia, the Brave Warriors also qualified for the CHAN tournament for a second time in a row as they were paired alongside Zambia, Ivory Coast and Uganda in Group B.
Chiyangi was speaking in an interview with Confidente Sport this week ahead of the highly anticipated clash in the capital.
Those who impress the coach could find themselves selected for back-to-back African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 qualifiers when Zambia play away to Algeria on 11 November before a home match against neighbours Zimbabwe a week later on 19 November.
Leading goal scorer in the Zambian top flight league Kennedy Musonda with four goals for Green Eagles is expected to lead the line for Zambia.
“The team that will face Namibia is an all local team as the date is not on FIFA window. Zambia will use players that will be participating at the CHAN 2020 tournament. As I have said, the team has not yet been named but we’ll take advantage of the friendly (Dr Geingob Cup) to use players that will be used in the back-to-back AFCON qualifiers,” said Chiyangi.
Namibia heads into the Dr Geingob Cup as a two-time defending champions following victories against Zimbabwe in 2017 and Ghana last year in Windhoek, although the Cup was initially a club competition for local clubs, including an invited team outside Namibia, but it has since changed into an international competition due to chronic uncertainty over the start of the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
Like Zambia, Namibia will also use the competition as preparation for the CHAN tournament and coach Bobby Samaria is expected to use the same players that were involved in the CHAN qualifiers.
One player that many Namibian fans will look to score goals is Mighty Gunners striker Elmo Kambindu, scorer of two goals against Madagascar last month in the final round of the 2020 CHAN qualifier in Windhoek, which Namibia won 2-0 and 2-1 on aggregate.
Kambindu has earned himself a starting role under Samaria, despite scoring only five goals last season for his club in the NPL.“I am not focusing too much on scoring goals as I am more focusing on working very hard in training. I am not sure if the coach will select me. I was surprised to be called up to the national team since I had an upside-down season for club due to injuries, as at times I was forced to play with injuries because I was the only striker at the club at the time,” Kambindu told Confidente Sport.
The Brave Warriors started training on Monday this week in preparation for the Cup, with Samaria looking at winning his first trophy as Namibia’s coach.
“First of all we are playing for the President and we have to do it with a win. Both countries have qualified for CHAN finals and will try to find combinations and see how best we go to Cameroon to do our best. I’m so proud of these boys, as they have come a long way during tough times in our football. They remain focused on what they love doing and they are representing the nation with so much pride”, Samaria said.
Below are the 24 players called up by Samaria for a training camp ahead of the Zambia clash.