There is a strong South African connection in Zambia’s 2013 Afcon hopes with a total of five players from South Africa’s Premier Soccer League named to defend their Nations Cup crown.
It is two less than the tally who went to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon at the start of the year that won the continental championship for the first time.
Coach Herve Renard has left out Clifford Mulenga of SuperSport United, who has not played for his country since being sent home for breaking a curfew in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea during the 2012 finals.
Kampamba Chintu has since left Bidvest Wits and not found a new club. That's the other little change in the squad as Renard kept all but two of the squad that took Zambia to the last title.
He has named a provisional list of 26 players for the upcoming tournament, keeping faith in the majority of the squad that won Zambia a first continental championship.
This includes Kennedy Mweene and Noah Chivuta of Free State Stars; veteran defender Joseph Musonda of Lamontville Golden Arrows and Davies Nkausu from SuperSport.
The other player is Collins Mbesuma of Orlando Pirates, who scored for Zambia against Bafana Bafana at Soccer City in November.
Zambia’s squad includes a further five players who have previously competed in the PSL, including captain Chris Katongo.
Zambia begin their title defence in Group C against Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria. They play their first match on January 21.