Zambia Chipolopolo are in West Africa as a part of a three-match international friendly tour during the June FIFA International Window.
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s team will face Senegal, Benin and Sudan during June as part of their preparations for FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 Qualifiers, set to kick off in September.
Striker Brian Mwila, of FAZ Super League club Buildcon FC, described the friendlies as a quality test for Zambia before their opening two Qatar 2022 Group B qualifiers against Mauritania away and Tunisia at home next September.
“These friendlies will show us if we are ready for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers,” Mwila said. “They will be a serious test for us and give the coach enough time to see what he has to work with ahead of September. It is also a blessing in disguise that the FIFA World Cup qualifiers have been pushed forward from June, so that we can utilize this time seriously to work hard because the September games will not be easy,” he added.
Mwila, who is making his first return to Chipolopolo after a three-year hiatus, was one of the key players during Zambia’s unsuccessful push in the FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018 qualifiers. He scored three goals in that qualifying campaign with the highlight coming in a famous 3-1 home win over Algeria in which he scored a brace.
Zambia arrived in Senegal on 2 June without three key European based players, notably striker Patson Daka and midfielder Enock Mwepu of RB Salzburg, who are amid prospective summer moves away from the Austrian champions.
Striker Fashion Sakala has also been excused to allow him a smooth transition from Belgium’s KV Oostende to Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers.
But Micho has handed a debut call-up to relatively unknown 18-year-old striker Ntazana Mayembe of Welsh club Cardiff City.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo will face Senegal in Thies on 5 June, before flying to Cotonou to play Benin three days later. Zambia will conclude their tour on 11 June when they face Sudan at Omdurman.
Goalkeepers: Cyril Chibwe (Polokwane City, South Africa), Lameck Siame (Kabwe Warriors), Gregory Sianjase (Young Green Eagles)
Defenders: Tandi Mwape (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Isaac Shamujompa, Golden Mafwenta (Buildcon), Benedict Chepeshi, Prosper Chiluya (both Red Arrows), Dominic Chanda (Kabwe Warriors), Gaboniso Magenge (Lusaka Dynamos)
Midfielders: Benson Sakala, Spencer Sautu (both Power Dynamos), Salulani Phiri (Polokwane City, South Africa), Amity Shamende (Green Eagles), Paul Katema (Red Arrows), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors)
Forwards: Collins Sikombe (Lusaka Dynamos), Moses Phiri, Rogers Kola (both Zanaco) Ntazana Mayembe (Cardiff City, Wales), Brian Mwila (Buildcon)