By Robert Matakanye,
Barely 24 hours after Zambia’s elimination from the Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019, forward Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu have been summoned for the senior national team.
The duo from Austrian champions RB Salzburg have been brought in as reinforcements ahead of Tuesdays Group H qualifier at home against Zimbabwe at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
Mwepu and Daka join a Chipolopolo reeling following a 5-0 away loss to African champions champions Algeria on match-day-one in Blida on November 14.
The humbling result left Chipolopolo bottom of Group H as its quest to avoid a third successive AFCON qualification failure sustained a major setback while Algeria took command of the pool after that resounding start on the road to Cameroon.
But despite the bruising result, coach Aggrey Chiyangi has resisted making another late call-up for veteran goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene from South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns despite his long-serving understudy Toaster Nsabata’s forgettable night in Blida last Thursday.
Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka will join Zambia’s senior men national team tomorrow in camp. This is ahead of the Cameroon 2021 Group H Africa Cup of Nations match against Zimbabwe to be played on Tuesday at Heroes Stadium.
Nsabata is looking set to stay as first choice on Tuesday but Chiyangi is certain to make tactical reshuffles in defence in the wake of the defeat.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo quietly returned home from Algiers under the cover of darkness on Saturday evening ahead of their must-win Trans-Zambezi derby.
Chipolopolo and Zimbabwe meet this week for the second time this year since June 5 when Chipolopolo beat The Warriors 4-2 on post-match penalties following a 0-0 draw in the 2019 COSAFA Cup semifinal in Durban, South Africa.
However, Zimbabwe head to Lusaka in better condition than their hosts with 1 point after a 0-0 home draw in Harare against Botswana.
But Zimbabwe coach Joey Antipas remains wary of their trans-Zambezi rivals.
“We now play a wounded Zambia team which will be a mammoth task for us,” Antipas told CAFonline.
“We just have to keep our heads up and work harder to get a positive result.”