Patrice Beaumelle starts his national assignment the hard way

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INTERIM Chipolopolo coach, Patrice Beaumelle starts his national assignment the hard way; first playing five-time world champions, Brazil, and secondly with a handicapped team where six key players are missing.

The team will be without the injured South Africa trio of striker Collins Mbesuma, midfielder Mukuka Mulenga and defender Davies Nkausu.

Already the Chipolopolo technical bench is sweating over acquiring the services of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) trio of Stoppila Sunzu, Rainford Kalaba and Nathan Sinkala who TP Mazembe claims are unwell.

However, Sunzu was reportedly seen in Lusaka, while Kalaba and Sinkala are believed to be on the Copperbelt.

Chipolopolo team manager, Lusekelo Kamwambi is making frantic efforts to travel tonight with the three players, while TP Mazembe defender, Hichani Himoonde was expected to fly out to Beijing last night.

FIFA has warned Mazembe to comply with FIFA’s governing regulations on the release of players for national duties 48 hours before the game or risk facing consequences.

Beaumelle, however, believes next Tuesday’s historic international friendly match against five-time world champions, Brazil will showcase Zambia’s football potential.

The Frenchman, who took over the mantle from his mentor, Herve Renard this week, said the match against the FIFA 2014 World Cup hosts in China was important for the Chipolopolo as it would bring to the fore the skills of the Zambian players.

The 35-year-old said apart from the team being skillful, the Brazil test would also prove that Zambia had a good team and deserved to face the world’s big guns.

He said the he was not feeling any pressure as the Chipolopolo prepares to meet the A Seleção in next Tuesday’s friendly in China.

Chipolopolo face the 2014 FIFA World Cup hosts on October 15 in a friendly at the Birds Nest Stadium in Beijing.

Tuesday’s friendly will mark the Frenchman’s first official match in charge since his predecessor and compatriot, Renard quit on Monday.

“There is no pressure; it is a privilege to play Brazil who are a big name,” Beaumelle said at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Wednesday night prior to departure.

“It is a nice opportunity for the boys to show that they can play against one of the best teams in the World.”

“It’s an important match for the players and it will show that we’re skillful, a good team and deserve to play these big matches,” Beaumelle said before departure for China with six

players.

Midfielder Kondwani Mtonga said playing Brazil would be a great experience for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions.

The Zambian delegation which left on Wednesday aboard an Emirates flight consisted of Fwayo Tembo, Mtonga, Bruce Musakanya, Kabaso Chongo, Bronson Chama, Joshua Titima, Beaumelle and assistant coach, Masautso Mwale.

Others in the delegation were Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) committee member, Happie Munkondya, communications and media manager, Erick Mwanza and Chipolopolo equipment manager Stanley Kaseko.

During a stop-over in Dubai, United Arab Emirates yesterday morning, the contingent was joined by the South Africa based duo of Kennedy Mweene and Joseph Musonda.

The rest of the players called up for the Brazil friendly are expected in China tomorrow.

Today, the players who are already in camp are expected to kick off preparations for Brazil in earnest.

FAZ president, Kalusha Bwalya left for Beijing yesterday and posted on his social network facebook wall: “On my way to Beijing, China to watch Brazil versus Zambia…Wish it was me playing!”

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