Sports News of Wednesday, 15 October 2014
THERE was jubilation in the Chipolopolo camp after captain Christopher Katongo was sent packing from the Zambian camp for alleged misconduct as the team prepared for today’s crucial Morocco 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.
Impeccable sources within the camp disclosed that Katongo was expelled from the team for alleged misconduct that was detrimental to the squad.
“The technical bench has had enough of Katongo’s misconduct and so they decided to let him go, the rest of the team rejoiced because it’s Katongo who has been dividing the players. He was becoming a bad influence. So the players are now united heading into the remaining qualifiers,” the source said.
While Katongo was exiting camp, his deputy Stopilla Sunzu, who missed the weekend barren draw against Niger owing to a bereavement in the family, joined the squad that had a training session at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola yesterday.
The BidVest Wits player was heard on the plane from Niamey to Ndola on Saturday night saying that as far as he was concerned, he never played in the 0-0 draw against Niger on Saturday because he came in as a substitute playing only for five minutes.
Katongo was relegated to the bench and only came in the 78th minute for Chisamba Lungu while the captaincy was given to Nathan Sinkala, who is also deputy captain.
A similar matter happened during the 2013 AFCON finals where Katongo reacted badly to Herve Renard’s decision to leave him out of the team that played Nigeria and threatened to quit.
At a media briefing held before the team’s training session yesterday, Chipolopolo team manager Lusekelo Kamwambi confirmed Katongo’s departure.
“Coach Honour Janza in a bold move aimed at boosting team spirit and unity in Chipolopolo has released Captain Christopher Katongo from camp. Janza intends to make drastic changes to the squad to face Niger on Wednesday, therefore, he wishes to spare the blushes of the captain that might rise from the possible omission from the team,” Kamwambi said.
Kamwambi said according to the hierarchy, Sunzu was expected to take the mantle of leading his chargers against Niger.
“As you know, the hierarchy is that the deputy captain should shoulder that burden of leading his chargers but Sunzu is coming from a bereavement and all these matters will be considered.
We shall assess the situation whether he (Sunzu) will lead his friends in battle or if he will be led,” he said.
The 32-year-old, who is currently Chipolopolo’s captain, will not be involved in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
And team manager Lusekelo Kamwambi has revealed that the reason for Bidvest Wits player’s omission stems from the coach’s desire to avoid any rabble-rousing from players who have not been included in the match-day squad.
“Coach Janza, in a bold move aimed at bolstering team spirit and unity in the Chipolopolo, released captain Christopher Katongo from camp,” Kamwambi told postzambia.com.
“Janza intends to make drastic changes to the team to face Niger on Wednesday. Therefore, he wished to spare the blushes of the captain arising out of the possible omission from the team.
“No player will be kept in camp as has been the case lately once the final 18 players have been named. This is to avoid negative energy that might affect the team.”
Katongo made his Zambia debut in 2003 and has since gone on to make a further 85 appearances, scoring 21 goals in the process.