Chipolopolo striker Patson Daka believes the two international friendly matches against the Eagles of Mali will be a good test for both teams.
The Leicester City forward says he is honored to represent the nation and a dream come true to always get the opportunity to do so.
Daka says the players who are currently in camp are in good shape and just waiting for the last bunch to prepare for Friday’s game.
“It’s always a pleasure and honor to be called to the national team. I think it’s every player’s dream to always represent their country. I’m just humbled to get this opportunity. Am very happy to meet with the guys,” Daka said after a training session this morning at the Modibo Keita Stadium in Bamako.
“This was our first session with the guys, it has been very good. We are getting there where we want to be. It’s a very good start of preparations for what we want to do. Mali is a very good team, they have a good team with great players. It will be a very good test for us, and the level we have reached. It is going to be an exciting game for both of us as we look forward to the AFCON qualifiers.”
“So far with the guys who have reported we are in good shape. We are just waiting for the other guys so that we can be all in and start looking forward to how we are going to play on Friday. So far it’s going well and everyone looks ready,” he added.
Mali have named a star studded line up with the likes of Moussa Djenepo, Sekou Koita, Daddier Semassekou, Amadou Haidara and Yves Bissouma all making the squad.
Daka however believes it’s not about who the Eagles have in their team but what the individual players in the Chipolopolo have to bring to the table and want to achieve as a collective.
“To be honest it’s not even about looking at what or who they have in Mali. Everyone wants to play the best. Like I said, for us it’s a good test because it will show us where we have reached and how ready we are. So I am just encouraging the guys to be themselves and do their best. It’s not about who we are playing but you as an individual what you bring to the table and help the team. It’s more focused on the team what we want to achieve and not the team we are playing and who they have got,” he said.
“We know how much the fans love the game of football. We know how much they support us even in hard times. This is an opportunity to bring back smiles on their faces. We are going to do our best as they continue supporting us,” he added.
Zambia and the Eagles of Mali will square off on Friday at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako at 19:00 hours GMT (21H00 CAT).
Zambia will again play Mali on Monday, September 26th in the second A grade FIFA international friendly match.
The Chipolopolo are using the matches as part of preparation for the Ivory Coast 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that will take place next year in March.