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Mzava says captaincy huge challenge

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SOUTH Africa-based centre-back, Limbikani Mzava has described his appointment as Flames’ captain as a huge challenge considering that the team’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations’ bid is hanging by a thread.

Flames’ mentor, Ernest Mtawali, named the defender as the new captain, replacing long-serving, Joseph Kamwendo. The stylish midfielder’s lack of game-time at Democratic Republic of Congo side, TP Mazembe, cost him the national team place.

Speaking from his base in South Africa, Mzava said his appointment came as a surprise, but he is eager to lead the team.

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“The coach (Mtawali) had already informed me about this on Friday (before Saturday’s press conference). He said I had the qualities of a captain and wants me to be encouraging fellow young players in the team. I wanted to turn it down bearing  in mind that it’s coming at a time when people seem to have lost confidence in us, but I accepted it after the coach gave me the guidelines on how I can be a good captain,” said Mzava.

The former Bloemfontein Celtic defence pillar, who has been a key player for the national team for the past four years, added that he will strive to cement team work and discipline in the squad.

“The advantage on my part is that I have been with the national team and learnt from the likes of retired captain Peter Mponda who was humble, but strict on discipline and instilled a spirit of hard-work amongst us. I have also learnt from Shakira (Joseph Kamwendo),” Mzava said.

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The new Flames’ skipper believes the team can revive their fading hopes if the players give their all during this weekend’s crucial must-win game away to Swaziland in Mbabane.

“I must admit that we put ourselves in an awkward situation after that 2-1 defeat to Zimbabwe, but all is not lost because football  is dynamic,” he said.

Mzava reserved his comment on the dropped players, but backed the coach’s decision to incorporate youthful players who were part of the Under-20 team that reached the third round of the African Youth Championship last year.

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