The build-up for the Nations Cup finals began in earnest on Boxing Day as the first two teams arrived for the tournament.
Defending champions Zambia are sticking with the tried and trusted and preparation as they always do at Milpark in Johannesburg and have been joined by Angola, who arrived some three weeks before they play on the opening day of the finals against Morocco.
Both begin their work on Thursday with Zambia’s coach Herve Renard having spent Christmas at the hotel ensuring all facilities were up to standard for his team. He left Zambia at the start of the week with a message for his players.
“They should all be at the team hotel on the 26th [of December], don’t forget to ensure that you carry equipment and personal gear because we will only be returning home on 11th February,” he said in a confident expression of Zambia’s desire to retain their title. The Nations Cup finals is at Soccer City on February 10.
Angola arrived with the bulk of the 27-man preliminary squad they have named for the tournament but are still awaiting some of their key European-based players like Manucho from Real Valladolid and Turkish-based striker Djalma.
Most of their players are from clubs in the GiraBola with 19 home-based and the Brazil-based striker Geraldo already in camp in Johannesburg.
Angola’s home based players have already had two weeks of training at Lubango and played three friendly matches against the Gambia, Rwanda and Cameroon’s under-23 team.
Angola’s football federation said three more friendlies were planned against Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, likely all in the Johannesburg area, before the tournament kicks off but none of the matches have yet been arranged.