Zambia head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has explained why Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene will play a crucial role for them in the Cosafa Cup.
The experienced custodian is expected to be Micho's first-choice goalkeeper in the regional tournament that is being held in South Africa, and Chipolopolo will start their campaign with a match against Lesotho on Thursday.
"The touch of maturity and seniority that Kennedy is bringing is very important," Micho said as was quoted by Faz media.
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"Carrying the jersey of Chipolopolo is not an easy task, very often you are bringing the player and then the jersey is so heavy because inside every jersey are the dreams of millions of Zambians and ambitions of the nation.
"When we have that in mind, we are fully aware that his maturity and seniority has added value to the team.
"Together with the other senior players, he is helping the younger players to adapt so that we have a perfect blend of maturity and seniority and young players that are supposed to come and carry the Chipolopolo high."
The former Orlando Pirates head coach added how they have prepared to start their title defence of the competition pitting teams from Southern Africa against one another.
"We are looking to enter the competition in the best possible way with a win that could give us confidence ahead of the remaining matches," he continued.
"We are in high spirits, I need to thank everyone, Faz president, his executive and all the people that have enabled us to prepare very well. Immediately after finishing the league, we got our players together and we have worked now for 10 days.
"After 10 days of work, I believe that we have made steps forward in order to have a tight defence in order to not concede, to have a sharp creative attack so that the talent and quality of our players are getting us performances and results."
Zambia's preliminary fixtures in full :
July 8: Zambia vs Lesotho 12:00 (Isaac Wolfson Stadium)
July 10: Eswatini vs Zambia 15:00 (Isaac Wolfson Stadium)
July 13: Zambia vs Botswana 15:00 (Isaac Wolfson Stadium)
July 14: South Africa vs Zambia 15:00 (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium)