Thursday Jul 01, 2021. 12:00
We are treating our COSAFA Cup title defence very seriously, says Chipolopolo Zambia and Black Leopards midfielder Roderick Kabwe.
Kabwe and Amazulu forward Augustine Mulenga joined Zambia’s pre-2021 COSAFA Cup training camp in Lusaka on Wednesday as the holders gear-up for their title defence in South Africa from July 6-18 at Nelson Mandela Bay.
The duos’ arrival brings to six foreign-based call ups now in camp.
Still absent are Polokwane City goalkeeper Mwenya Chibwe, TP Mazembe defender Kabaso Chongo and Mamelodi Sundowns stopper Kennedy Mweene who would complete the most solid Zambia COSAFA Cup sides’ assembled since 2008.
“It is obvious we have got a big assignment coming up. It is also important because we are going there with a mindset as preparation for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers but we also want to retain the Cup,” Kabwe said.
“As you know, we are the champions and it is important that we retain the championship.”
This year’s COSAFA Cup 20th edition outing has a huge emotional attachment to it especially for Zambia.
Five-time winners Zambia were the inaugural champions in 1997 and went on to record their only back-to-back triumph to date.
Chipolopolo are not only heading to Nelson Mandela Bay on that mission but also to equal record-winners Zimbabwe victories.
Zambia are in Group B where they have been drawn against Comoros, Madagascar and Malawi.
Chipolopolo kicks off its COSAFA defence on July 7 against Comoros in what will be their debut senior COSAFA Cup meeting.
“Football is a tricky thing but we are going in with a mentally of winning every game we will play. It won’t be easy but we shall prepare for each game it comes,” Kabwe said.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo on Wednesday played a practice match against City of Lusaka and beat the FAZ second division club 3-1.
Augustine Mulenga scored one goal while Kabwe Warriors midfielder Prince Mumba netted a brace.