Herve Renard believes that the Chipolopolo will need to set the tone for qualification for SA2013 in the first leg encounter of the final round of qualification when his African champion squad play Uganda at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on September 9.
The Zambia National Soccer Team trainer strongly contends that Zambia will qualify but that Uganda will be a tough opponent and should therefore never be underrated. He said regardless of ranking of its opposition, the kings of African football will always remain focused and work hard so that the team can continue on its path of development.
Speaking to journalists in Blantyre where he took the Zambia Development for Friday’s international against Malawi, Renard said: “The first leg of the game for qualification to the Africa Cup finals next year will determine our future. For us we must seize the opportunity to beat Uganda at Levy Stadium so that the return match in Kampala is not a match that decides who qualifies.”
“It will certainly not be an easy game because Uganda is a difficult team especially when they are playing at home. We know the progress Uganda has made recently. We also know them from the Cecafa Cup,” Renard said adding: “We will do everything possible to qualify because we need to defend the title. Our confidence is in the preparations we will make.”
Yesterday FAZ President Kalusha Bwalya told fazfootball.com that the qualifier against Uganda will effectively begin Zambia’s Nations Cup title defence. He said Football House will prepare the Chipolopolo adequately.
Said Kalusha: “It was a tough draw. We didn’t expect anything less. As African champions, Zambia is the team to beat and all the teams across the continent will come to us with all they’ve got.”
The African kings were drawn against the Cranes in a ceremony in Johannesburg last night. The winners of the 2012 Africa Cup will be at home in the first leg on Saturday 8th September and play away in Kampala in the return and final leg on Sunday 14 October. The winner of the fixture joins hosts South Africa and the other victors from 14 other qualifiers for Africa’s biggest soccer bonanza next January. The 2013 Nations Cup finals kickoff on 19th January at Soccer City with the final match also scheduled for Johannesburg on 10th February.
Kalusha reiterated his administration’s stated policy of adequately preparing the team and ensure that everything was in place for the team to compete well against Uganda and the finals next year.