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Wednesday, 01 April 2020

CAN 2012: Renard picks teenage striker for African Cup

Coach Herve Renard included 17-year-old striker Evans Kangwa in injury-hit Zambia’s final 23-man squad for the African Cup of Nations

AP, Tuesday 10 Jan 2012
French coach Herve Renard (Photo: Reuters)
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Utrecht striker Jacob Mulenga, Israel-based midfielder Justin Zulu and defensive midfielder Thomas Nyirenda were all unavailable with injury. Renard also left out forward Given Singuluma of Congo club TP Mazembe while another midfielder who plays in Israel, William Njobvu, had already been ruled out.

Renard’s final selection was released Tuesday in Johannesburg, where Zambia is holding a training camp ahead of friendlies against South Africa and Namibia.

Zambia, nicknamed Chipolopolo or Copper Bullets, will play in Group A at the Jan. 21-Feb. 12 African Cup alongside co-host Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Senegal.

Renard, who returned last year for his second spell in charge of Zambia, picked James Chamanga of China’s Dalian Shide and Sudan-based winger Jonas Sakuwaha, who will be at his first African Cup alongside teenager Kangwa.

Chamanga had been doubtful with an ankle injury but made the list, as did goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, defender Joseph Musonda, midfielder Isaac Chansa and forward Collins Mbesuma—who all play club football in South Africa.

Zambia was likely to miss Mulenga and Nyirenda, especially, at the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea as it aims to improve on a quarterfinal exit to Nigeria in a penalty shootout in 2010.

“We can play against anybody. We can compete against anyone,” Renard said. “We have worked very hard these past weeks and the squad is ready for any competitor. We are focused, disciplined and working hard.”

The Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea is also likely to revive memories of Zambia’s worst football disaster.

Eighteen players and five team officials were killed when their plane crashed off the coast of Gabon’s capital Libreville—one of the host cities for this month’s tournament—in 1993. The Zambia squad was traveling for a World Cup qualifier in Senegal.

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