New Zambia coach Sven Vandenbroek arrives with Afcon mandate

The Chipolopolo job is the 38-year-old Belgian’s first role at the helm of a national team as he replaces Wedson Nyirenda who resigned in May

New Zambia coach Sven Vandenbroeck has arrived in Lusaka to immediately start work and has declared he is looking forward to “a lovely journey” ahead.

An Africa Cup of Nations winner last year, as assistant to former Cameroon coach Hugo Broos, Vandenbroeck is relishing his first task as head coach of a national team.

He evokes memories of former Chipolopolo Afcon winning coach Herve Renard who first arrived in Zambia in 2008, only armed with the experience of being part of ex-Ghana coach Claude Le Roy's backroom staff.

The Belgian’s immediate task is qualifying Zambia for next year’s Afcon finals to be staged in his former base Cameroon.

He inherits a youthful Zambia side whose core are youngsters who won last year’s Under-20 Afcon title as well as participating at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup.

With Zambia having kicked off their 2019 Afcon qualifiers on the back foot with a 1-0 home loss to Mozambique, Vandenbroeck is expected to breathe life back into their campaign when they visit Namibia in September.

“I think it is a lovely journey in front of us and we are going to make the best of it,” Vandenbroeck told the Football Association of Zambia's media.

“I am looking forward to the five games program that we have. It will be tough but I think we can make it, we have to make it.

“I am looking forward to knowing everybody, the players, the coaches and everybody around in the technical committee.”

After a scheduled meeting with the Zambia Minister of Sports on Monday, Vandenbroeck is expected to be officially unveiled to the media the following day.

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He is then set to immediately get down to his official duties by meeting and sharing notes with all 20 Zambia Super League coaches.

Part of his schedule also includes a local tour where he will attend Super League club training sessions as well as watching league games before selecting his Afcon qualifiers squad.

The Zambia Under-20 Afcon qualifier against Burundi next week is another match Vandebroeck is keen to watch and widen the scouting base for national team talent.