Veteran goalkeeper and 2012 AFCON champion Kennedy Mweene says Chipoloplo Zambia must ride the pressure and deliver performances in South Africa over the next week befitting the status of a defending COSAFA Cup champion.
Chipolopolo, who have failed to qualify to the AFCON three times, and also produced an unconvincing performance at 2021 CHAN in Cameroon where they made a humbling quarterfinal exit, battle to restore a sense of regional authority at the COSAFA Cup that South Africa is hosting from July 6-18.
“It is a special one because as you know we are defending champions and we have to show that we are the defending champions,” Mweene said.
“Some of us are used to playing under pressure, that is what a professional player needs to do and if you cannot play under pressure, then I don’t know what you are doing in football.
“We always find comfort where there is no comfort.”
Chipolopolo’s first act in returning to footballs comfort zone begins this Thursday in their opening 2021 COSAFA Cup Group A against Lesotho at the tournament venue in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Lesotho has already played one game after losing 3-1 to early Group A leaders eSwatini on July 6.
South Africa and Botswana are the other Group A teams.
Thursdays match will also mark the end of Mweene’s long self-imposed Zambia exile that stretches back to November 2018.