“Chintu Kampamba is a great team player who is an important member of our squad,” says Herve Renard in explaining his retention of the unattached defender for Zambia’s defence of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Both Renard and FAZ Spokesperson Erick Mwanza have dispelled media rumors that Chintu had been appointed one of the Zambia coaches, stressing that his retention in the Chipolopolo was down to the influence and impact he had among his colleagues.
African kings, Zambia, commence the defence of their title next week when they play Ethiopia at Mbombela on January 21. They also face Nigeria and Burkina Faso in other Group C matches.
Chipolopolo won her maiden Nations Cup title last February after silencing pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast in Libreville.
Said Mwanza: “Coach Renard has decided to keep Chintu in the squad despite him not being among the official 23 players for the tournament. It’s an important decision which we understand and fully support. But contrary to some reports, he has not been appointed coach. He remains a player and will be with the squad for the entire duration of the tournament,” Mwanza said.
Added Renard: “Chintu is not able to be in the final 23. But he is our team mate; he is so important for all of us. He was injured and has not managed to recover in time, so my job was to pick another player who deserved to be in the squad.”
“But because is he an important player and our brother, we will keep him in the squad,” Renard said.
Chintu was injured in the international friendly against Tanzania last December. Since sustaining the injury, the defender has not been able to be involved in full training with the rest of the squad.