The Chipolopolo coach outlines plans for the upcoming friendly matches where they will also face the Harambee Stars
Zambia coach Milutin Sredojevic has confirmed he will use the upcoming friendly matches against Malawi and Kenya to test his local talent.
The Chipolopolo have planned a tough October where they will return to action after a seven-month Covid-19 lockdown with a home friendly against Malawi on October 7, travel to Kenya to face the Harambee Stars on October 11, and then finish against South Africa on October 13 in Rustenburg.
Sredojevic, who is popularly referred to as ‘Micho’, has now confirmed that he will use home-based players during the matches.
Already Sredojevic has named a squad of 40 home-players, who moved to camp in Lusaka on Monday but they will be joined by 13 professionals starting next week.
“We started yesterday [September 28] our journey in preparation for the triple-header friendly matches against Malawi, Kenya, and South Africa,” ‘Micho’ told Lusaka Times at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
“We have completed the squad with 40 local players that we are looking at, and we are also looking at a few more players.
“At present, we are assessing the state of the players where they have been in the context of it has been lockdown, the league that had then continued and then had been stopped and is now in pre-season.
“And I want to give credit to the Zambian coaches who have put the players in the correct fitness and shape.
We had left our respective teams and coaches to work and put the players into the correct fitness shape for almost one month, so now before the league starts, we shall have them.
“We are looking at by Sunday, to reduce the team to 20 or 24 players that will be in contention with 13 players; the seven players from Europe and six invited from the African continent.”
The former Cranes coach promised to field local prospects for the 2021 Chan tournament in the friendly against Malawi and Kenya.
“We shall make a competitive squad with the first game against Malawi, we shall give a chance mostly to the local players and those outside who we have not seen enough action,” ‘Micho’ continued.
“In the first two matches against Malawi and Kenya, we want to see the best–of–the–best of ours so that we have a general checkup before the game against Bafana Bafana so that we see where we are, how we are, and in which direction to go.
“And with the squad that will go to Kenya and South Africa, whoever will not be able to play against Bafana Bafana, we are looking for a high-profile international friendly against one of the top three South African clubs; Pirates, Chiefs or Mamelodi Sundowns so that everyone is tested whether they are capable to serve competitive matches in November against Botswana.”
Zambia are using the friendly matches to prepare for their 2021 Afcon qualifiers as they are scheduled to face Botswana in a Group H double-header on November 9 and 17.