bwalya backs zambia

ZAMBIAN soccer icon Kalusha Bwalya has described the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola as a perfect platform for Chipolopolo to reclaim continental glory.

ZAMBIAN soccer icon Kalusha Bwalya has described the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola as a perfect platform for Chipolopolo to reclaim continental glory.

The 16-nation biennial tournament starts on January 10.

Bwalya, who is also the president of the Football Association of Zambia, said the national team was looking beyond reaching the knockout stages of the Cup of Nations.

"The last time Zambia reached the second round was here in South Africa in 1996," said the Johannesburg-based Bwalya, who was the captain of the 1996 squad.

"We are going to Angola to make Zambia proud. Our aim is to use it to reclaim our status as one of the African soccer powerhouses."

Chipolopolo's best result in the Afcon was in 1994 when they were defeated 1-0 by the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the final in Tunisia.

"We have a great team. The players are hungry to do well despite the fact that it will be a tough tournament. You have to play against the giants to be the best," Bwalya said.

Zambia coach Herve Renard is also confident they will go through to the next round, despite being in Group D with giants Cameroon, Tunisia and Gabon.

Chipolopolo, who have recalled Mpumalanga Black Aces striker Clifford Mulenga after excluding him from the provisional squad, are training in Johannesburg.

Led by Christopher Katongo, Zambia will meet South Korea on January 9 in a friendly after matches against Benin and Malawi were called off.

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