Zambia coach Honour Janza has set sights on a perfect start to their campaign at the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015.
Chipolopolo, winners in 2012 face northern neighbours DR Congo in their Group B opener on Sunday, 18 January 2015 at the Estadio de Ebebiyin in Ebebiyin, a town in the northeastern part of Equatorial Guinea and lying on the borders with Cameroon and Gabon.
Janza and his team arrived at their base on Friday afternoon, barely 48-hours to their opening game and are looking forward to an encounter against an opponent they know so much about and have a lot of things in common.
Captain Rainford Kalaba and forward Given Singuluma play for DR Congo champions, TP Mazembe, whilst central defender Sunzu Stopilla and midfielder Nathan Sinkala also honed their talents at the Lubumbashi-based club.
Kalaba and Singuluma will be up against their club-mates goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba and defensive pair, Jean Kasusula and Joel Kimwaki in the opener that has so much at stake.
Janza, who took over the reins of the Chipolopolo last year following the shock resignation of Frenchman Patrice Beaumelle to join compatriot Herve Renard’s backroom staff with the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire expects a tough test against a Congolese side eager to do well.
Having knowledge of the DR Congo team is no advantage for the Zambian trainer, who expects “a good game from both teams”.
“It is the best team on the day that will carry the good result. The fact that some of our boys play in DR Congo gives us a lot of competition, because they know each other.
“We need to total concentration and commitment, and we have to fight to get the result we need,” he told Cafonline.com at his team’s base in Ebebiyin.
According to him, the battle “is more on the pitch than outside” referring to the rivalry between the two countries.
The soft-spoken Janza reckons that his team’s continued stay at the tournament hinges to some extent on the outcome of the opening match against the Leopards.
“It would be good for us to get good results being the first match. We are looking at all the games with the seriousness it deserves. It is not only the first game that is important.”