Saturday Jun 05, 2021. 10:00
Chipolopolo face hosts Senegal in a friendly game in Thies on Saturday night.
Kick off will be at 21h00 CAT at Stade Lat Dior de Thiès.
The match is the first stop on Zambia’s three friendly tour that will also take them to Benin and Sudan over the next fortnight.
Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is using the three June friendlies to fine-tune his side before the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup group stage qualifiers start this September.
“It is an important game for us as you know it is one of the last windows before the games in September,” Polokwane City midfielder Salulani Phiri said.
“It has given us an opportunity to work on ourselves; you know we have not qualified to the Africa Cup for three times so the preparations start now so that we can do better in the next qualifiers.”
The match will certainly be a huge test for Zambia against Senegal’s star-studded lineup.
Senegal will have the likes of Sadio Mane from Liverpool and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in an all-European-based, 26-man team Aliou Cisse has summoned for their June friendlies against Zambia and Cape Verde on June 8.
But Zambia will be without their European-based star players in particular striker Patson Daka and midfielder Enock Mwepu of Austrian champions RB Salzburg who are both linked with summer moves away from the club.
Striker Fashion Sakala who has just completed a move from KV Oostende in Belgium to Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers has also been excused to help him through his club transition.
Micho will basically have five foreign-based call-ups available in his 22-man team with three of them from the PSL who include Salulani’s club mate and goalkeeper Cyril Chibwe and Black Leopards midfielder Roderick Kabwe.
TP Mazembe defender Tandi Mwape is the other prominent call-up.
The match should see 18-year-old striker Ntazana Mayembe of Welsh club Cardiff City make his debut when he dives straight into the deep end without any junior cap for Zambia.
There are also two players back from lengthy absence who include striker Brian Mwila who returns after a three-year hiatus of battling to make the grade in Europe.
But Mwila has shown flashes of old since returning home seven months ago and joined Buildcon FC where he has scored six goals.
Mwila’s club mate and defender Isaac Shamujompa also makes his return following his recent recovery from a long-term injury.
Meanwhile, Zambia are unbeaten against Senegal in their last two meetings after drawing 1-1 in a friendly played in Paris on August 14, 2013 and winning 2-1 in a 2012 AFCON tournament Group A match on January 22, 2012.