The Head Coach of the Zambia National Football Team, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has stated that he will use their upcoming friendlies to test out local players.
Sredojevic has already named an expanded squad of 40 home-based players which will be stripped down and added to with 13 foreign-based professionals.
Chipolopolo will mark their return to international football with matches against Malawi (home, October 7), Kenya (away, October 11) and South Africa (away, October 13).
Sredojevic says he will be using the first two games in particular to test out Zambia’s home-based talent.
“We started our journey in preparation for the triple-header friendly matches against Malawi, Kenya, and South Africa,” the Serbian told the Lusaka Times.
“We have completed the squad with 40 local players that we are looking at, and we are also looking at a few more players.
“At present, we are assessing the state of the players where they have been in the context of it has been lockdown, the league that had then continued and then had been stopped and is now in pre-season.
“And I want to give credit to the Zambian coaches who have put the players in the correct fitness and shape.
“We had left our respective teams and coaches to work and put the players into the correct fitness shape for almost one month, so now before the league starts, we shall have them.
“We are looking at by Sunday, to reduce the team to 20 or 24 players that will be in contention with 13 players; the seven players from Europe and six invited from the African continent.”
The looming 2021 African Nations Championship has spurred ‘Micho’ into testing out what Zambia’s local leagues are producing.
“We shall make a competitive squad with the first game against Malawi, we shall give a chance mostly to the local players and those outside who we have not seen enough action,” he explained.
“In the first two matches against Malawi and Kenya, we want to see the best–of–the–best of ours so that we have a general checkup before the game against Bafana Bafana so that we see where we are, how we are, and in which direction to go.
“And with the squad that will go to Kenya and South Africa, whoever will not be able to play against Bafana Bafana, we are looking for a high-profile international friendly against one of the top three South African clubs; Pirates, Chiefs or Mamelodi Sundowns so that everyone is tested whether they are capable.