Renard laments Kalaba absence | Africa Cup

Africa CupTHE unavailability of midfield maestro Rainford Kalaba in Zambia’s squad for tomorrow’s decisive Africa Cup qualifier against Uganda a blow, says coach Herve Renard but he contends he has quality players to replace the playmaker.
And the Chipolopolo arrived in Kampala last night.
Kalaba who has been influential in the African champion’s success will miss tomorrow’s crucial 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final round return leg against Uganda due to an injury.
The TP Mazembe player suffered a groin injury last weekend in his club’s CAF Orange Champions League semi-final match against Tunisian giants Esperance.
Renard said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday before departure for Kampala that the talented midfielder’s absence will be felt because he is an important member of the team.
“There is no doubt Rainford is an influential player for us and will obviously be missed but there is no need to panic we have good players who can play in his position although they might not have the same attributes as Rainford,” Renard said.
He said midfielders Chisamba Lungu, William Njobvu and Felix Katongo are capable of playing in Kalaba’s position.
“It is unfortunate to lose a player like Rainford at this crucial time but his absence will give chance to others to impress. We must understand that injuries are part of the game so there is nothing we can do about it but we just have to cope without him,” he said.
Renard said the Chipolopolo are focused on qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.
He, however, predicted a tough encounter as the Cranes will be determined to maintain their impressive four-year unbeaten run at home.
Uganda will need to score two unanswered goals to deny the African champions chance to defend the title in South Africa.
The Frenchman was also impressed with the attitude of players during the four-day training camp in South Africa.
Minister of Sport and Youth Chishimba Kambwili, director of sports Bernard Nakachinda, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya, executive member Pivoty Simwanza and some fans accompanied the team that left for Kampala on a Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) chartered Boeing 737 plane.
And DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO reports that Zambia’s advance party to Kampala has complained of lack of cooperation by the hosts ahead of tomorrow’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier set for Namboole Stadium in Kampala.
But a Ugandan Football Federation (FUFA) official has also reportedly complained about Zambia keeping the hosts in suspense over when the Chipolopolo would arrive in Kampala.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) vice-president Boniface Mwamelo, who led an advance team to Kampala on Monday, said in an interview yesterday that the FUFA is uncooperative.
Mwamelo said FUFA as at midday yesterday had not availed the bus for the Chipolopolo who were scheduled to arrive in the Ugandan capital last evening.
“Up to now, we haven’t seen the bus and the official car our team will use,” Mwamelo said in an interview late yesterday afternoon.
“We haven’t even seen the hotel yet. All I hear is that their press officer is insulting us in the media that we are playing hide-and-seek games,” Mwamelo, who was preparing for the team’s arrival in Kampala, said.
Mwamelo said, however, that the situation will not demoralize the team’s focus of winning the decider tomorrow.
“We believe they are playing mind games but we will not be bothered, our focus is to play and win. Whether they provide us with a hotel or not, our team will have a comfortable place to lodge. That is why I am here…I am here to ensure the team is safe,” he said.
The Uganda New Vision newspaper reported that the African champions have rejected a three-star Hotel Sojovalo in Kampala.
FUFA publicist Rogers Mulindwa was quoted as saying that his association was kept guessing as to when exactly Zambia would arrive in Kampala.
“Zambia is not stating exactly when they will jet in,” Mulindwa told the New Vision.

Source;Zambia Daily Mail