Zambia coach George Lwandamina says he respects striker Jacob Mulenga’s decision to turn down his recall.
Mulenga, of Chinese club Shijiazhuang Yongchang, declined the prospect of ending his ten-month exile from the team to face Kenya away in a 2017 Africa Cup qualifier on September 6 in Nairobi.
The 31-year-old striker said he would like to be excused for the game because he believed he was not in the right frame of mind for the qualifier.
Mulenga has enjoyed a good start in his first season in China at promoted Yongchang, scoring nine goals to help the club to fifth place on the log.
“We will respect his decision. He is a good player,” Lwandamina said.
“If a player is not ready mentally we don’t want to force him, but I am sure he will be considered in future because he is so open, so we will respect that.”
Mulenga has not played for Zambia since ex-coach Honour Janza purged the team of veteran players after the Niger doubleheader last October during the 2015 Africa Cup qualifiers.
The striker was recalled together with Collins Mbesuma of Mpumalanga Black Aces in South Africa who has accepted the invitation and will be making his first return to the fold since facing Cape Verde away last September.