SA-based trio called up for Zambia


The Zambians must avoid defeat in their penultimate tie in Group B against leaders Ivory Coast in Abidjan on Sunday to stand any chance of making the Olympic tournament for the first time in 20 years.

Coach Peter Kaumba has included former Lamontville Golden Arrows goalkeeper Kalililo Kakonje, who now plays for Nathi Lions, as well as Davies Nkausu from University of Pretoria and striker Given Singuluma of Bay United.

Singuluma has also played for Zambia at full international level.

Zambia are two points behind their Ivorians rivals in the group standings but if they draw on Sunday have the advantage of a home tie to come in their last match in March while the Ivorians will travel away.

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast’s Under-23 coach Gerard Gili has drafted Chelsea striker Solomon Kalou into his squad for the weekend.

The match will mark the 22-year-pld’s Under-23 debut following his two senior caps that came after he failed to acquire Dutch nationality in 2006.

The Chelsea striker once played for the Holland Under-20 side but was not given Dutch nationality. That's when he opted to play for his home country Ivory Coast.

Kalou moves to the Under-23 after being left out of the senior team’s two friendly matches against Angola and Qatar scheduled for this Saturday and next Wednesday.Gili has also named two regular professionals despite the duo being handed senior call-ups for the Angola game to be played in Melun, France and away to Qatar in Doha.

The two are top-scorer captain Yao ‘Gervaiho’ Kouassi of French Ligue One side Le Mans on three goals and defender Constant Djakpa of Romanian club Padurii Lignitul.

Gili has also maintained the services of his vice-captain and defender Soulman Bamba of Scottish Premiership team Dumferline and two other key strikers.

The strikers are Abraham Guie Guie and Antoine Gossan of Kispest Honved in Hungary and Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosa respectively.

Guie Guie and Gossan have a goal each in the last three Group B matches for leaders Ivory Coast who top the pool on nine points, two ahead of second placed Zambia.

Ivory Coast leads Group B with nine points from four matches while Zambia have seven. In the first meeting in June, Zambia beat Ivory Coast 2-0 in Chingola on June 3.

If the Ivorians win this weekend, they will qualify for the finals with an unassailable 12 points with a game to spare.