Salulani Relishes Senegal Challenge
South based midfielder Salulani Phiri says playing against top teams like Senegal be a good opportunity to gauge its strength of the Chipolopolo in a competitive atmosphere.
Speaking to the FAZ media team in the coastal city Somone where the team is accommodated, Phiri said the team assembled by Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic was up to the task of representing Zambia with pride.
“It is an important game for us, as you know it is one of the last windows before the games (FIFA World Cup qualifiers) in September,” he said.
“It has given us an opportunity to work on ourselves, you know we have not qualified to the Africa Cup for three times so the preparations starts now so that we can do better in the next qualifiers.”
The Polokwane City midfield enforcer says playing Senegal presented a top opponent for the Chipolopolo.
“Senegal is a big nation; it is a giant in terms of football so I think looking at our local professionals they need to get an opportunity to play big games against players like Mane and others,” he said.
“Of course, every game needs to be won, we must win, we have to play with our heater. The coach and management have done everything, it is up to us to pay back.”
The Chazanga Township bred Phiri said he is happy to back in the Chipolopolo set up after missing out on the final round of qualifiers for the Cameroon 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
“I feel happy to be back, I am just looking forward to working hard and no more talking just want to be in the squad,” he said.
He also thanked the fans for their continued support even when the team has been having a patchy run.
“The support has been amazing from the Zambians even when we have disappointed them. They must just continue supporting us and with time we will meet their expectations,” he said.
The Chipolopolo play Senegal on Saturday before facing Benin in Cotonou on Tuesday in back-to-back friendlies during the June FIFA Window. The final game will be against Sudan in Omdurman on June 11.
Four foreign based players are part of the squad with Kings Kangwa (Arsenal Tula-Russia), Cyril Chibwe, Phiri (both Polokwane City-RSA) and Ntanzana Mayembe (Cardiff City).
The Europe based trio of Fashion Sakala (Glasgow Rangers), Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu (Red Bull Salzburg-Austria) will miss the friendly games to conclude their club switches.
Sweden based Emmanuel Banda (Djurgardens), Lubambo Musonda (Slask Wroclaw-[Poland) and Edward Chilufya are out due to injuries.
GOALKEEPERS: Cyril Chibwe (Polokwane City, South Africa), Lameck Siame (Kabwe Warriors), Gregory Sianjase (Young Green Eagles)
DEFENDERS:Tandi Mwape (TP Mazembe,DRC), Isaac Shamujompa, Golden Mafwenta (Buildcon), Benedict Chepeshi, Prosper Chiluya (both Red Arrows), Dominic Chanda (Kabwe Warriors), Makabaniso Magenge (Lusaka Dynamos)
MIDFIELDERS: Benson Sakala, Spencer Sautu (both Power Dynamos), Salulani Phiri (Polokwane City, South Africa), Amity Shamende (Green Eagles), Paul Katema (Red Arrows), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors)
FORWARDS: Collins Sikombe (Lusaka Dynamos), Moses Phiri, Rogers Kola (both Zanaco) Ntazana Mayembe (Cardiff City, Wales), Brian Mwila (Buildcon)