Chipolopolo coach Sven Vandenbroeck has struggled to give a valid reason for omitting rising star midfielder Enock Mwepu from Saturday’s starting XI against Namibia.
Mwepu was conspicuously missing from Zambia’s starting XI of their stuttering 1-1 away draw in Windhoek that saw both sides collect their first points in Group K after two rounds of matches played.
He replaced Salulani Phiri in the 83rd minute of the match with Zambia trailing 1-0 after Benson Shilongo had put Namibia ahead in the 78th minute before Justin Shonga equalized in stoppage time for the visitors.
“Because he travelled on Monday that’s one small reason. He came later than the other boys but also because of the artificial pitch (we played on),” Vandenbroeck said.
But Mwepu had traveled from his Austrian base last Monday to Chipolopolo’s transit camp in Johannesburg together with his RB Salzburg club mate and striker Patson Daka who started the match and was later replaced by Shonga in the last ten minutes of the match.
“But the main reasons is because of the artificial pitch and keeping the two holding midfielders not to leave space spaces between our central defense and central midfielders,” Vandenbroeck said.