Soccer-Zambia retain faith in winning squad

LUSAKA, Dec 24 (Reuters) - All but two of the squad who took Zambia to the last African Nations Cup title have been retained by coach Herve Renard for their defence in South Africa next month.

Renard named a provisional list of 26 players on Monday for the tournament, keeping faith in the rump of the squad who won a first continental championship for Zambia.

The only players left out are defender Nyambe Mulenga, who has lost form since injury in mid-year, and winger Clifford Mulenga, who was expelled for ill discipline during the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon at the start of the year.

Dutch-based striker Jacob Mulenga, who was forced to miss the last tournament because of injury, returns and is expected to lead the attack when Zambia begin their title defence in Group C against Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria. They play their first match on Jan. 21.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Kalililo Kakonje (Napsa Stars), Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars), Joshua Titima (Power Dynamos) Defenders: Hichani Himoonde (TP Mazembe Englebert), Chintu Kampamba (unattached), Francis Kasonde (TP Mazembe Englebert), Emmanuel Mbola (FC Porto), Joseph Musonda (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Davies Nkausu (SuperSport United), Salulani Phiri (Zanaco), Stoppila Sunzu (TP Mazembe Englebert)

Midfielders: Isaac Chansa (Henan Jianye), Noah Chivuta (Free State Stars) Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe Englebert), Chris Katongo (Henan Jianye), Felix Katongo (Petro Atletico), Chisamba Lungu (Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast), Mukuka Mulenga (Power Dynamos), William Njobvu (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe Englebert).

Forwards: James Chamanga (Liaoning Whowin), Emmanuel Mayuka (Southampton), Collins Mbesuma (Orlando Pirates), Jacob Mulenga (FC Utrecht), Evans Kangwa (Nkana), Jonas Sakuwaha (TP Mazembe Englebert). (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Durban; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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