Republican President Rupiah Bwezani Banda on Tuesday took time to watch and meet members of the Zambia Development/CHAN Team ahead of their departure for Johannesburg for a CHAN 2011 qualifier against the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts.

South Africa host Zambia in the first leg of the final round of qualification for the second edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN). Sudan will host the 2011 CHAN championship next January. The South Africa-Zambia qualifier match is scheduled for Johannesburg this Sunday May 23rd.

The Zambian team is expected to fly from Lusaka on Thursday.

After watching the afternoon session at the Barclays Sports Complex in Lusaka, President Banda expressed confident that the team would do well and record a result that should set the development team on the path to the Sudan finals.

“I know you’re very talented boys and you have prepared well for this game. I also know that the game may be difficult and any team can win but it has to be us. We are capable of anything because we have good talent. I believe in you as do the people of Zambia, so go there and do your best.”

“We will support you through and through because you can win anything. We saw in Angola (Africa Cup of Nations finals) when your seniors did very well and went up to the quarter-finals only to go out on penalties to Nigeria. We can do better than that at any stage and this team has a chance for that when we play on Sunday in South Africa,” the President, who is also Patron of the Football Association of Zambia, said.

Over the last two years of his presidency, President Banda has endeared himself to millions of Zambians not only for his government’s work in many sectors of the economy but his drive with the private sector to bankroll FAZ and the Chipolopolo in their international engagements.