ZAMBIA is focused on winning this Saturday’s game and will not fall prey to South Africa’s mind games that they are missing out notable players, says national Coach Wedson Nyirenda.
And midfielder Kondwani Mtonga has been ruled out of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) last round first leg qualifier game in South Africa due to injury.
Speaking in an interview after a training session at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka yesterday, Nyirenda said his game plan was to beat South Africa at home for Zambia to stand a better chance of qualifying.
He said South Africa was not a walkover and not even when they claim of missing out a number of good players.
“The issue of clubs withdrawing players is everywhere, so South Africa is not the only victim. We are not going to relent and say South Africa is weak due to their clubs refusing to release players because those are mind games. We will prepare for them adequately,” he said.
He was not intimidated by South Africa’s past dominance on Zambia in CHAN series, saying there was always time to break the jinx.
“We have been dominating Mozambique all along, but they beat us at our own backyard. So there is always the first time, we just have to go into the game with a square mind that we are playing a tough game and apply a positive mind,” he said.
In 2011, Zambia lost 1-0 away to South Africa and drew 1-1 in the return leg, which saw the Chipolopolo fail to qualify for the Sudan CHAN tournament.
Meanwhile, Nyirenda said Mtonga was ruled out of the first leg as he sustained a deep cut just above his eye during the Zesco United and Nakambala Leopards game last Saturday.
He said Mtonga needed more than a week to heal completely.
He mentioned Jack Chirwa and Donashano Malama as the two midfielders that will fill up the void left by Mtonga.
“Apart from Mtonga, the rest of the boys are shaping up well and look ready for the match. And Alex Ng’onga is expected to join the team later in the day as he has already started off from Kitwe,” Nyirenda said.