Wedson Nyirenda is eager to add Belgium-born Chelsea starlet Charly Musonda to his Zambia squad as he looks to build a formidable unit ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Nyirenda has overseen an impressive transformation for the national side since taking charge back in September, and has discarded some of the squad’s elder statesmen in favour of the country’s next generation of stars.
The bold move has sparked a startling revival in fortunes for Chipolopolo, who finished a credible second in a tough Group B of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers – ahead of both Cameroon and Algeria.
Now, with an eye on the Nations Cup in Cameroon, Nyirenda is convinced that the addition of Belgium U-21 international Musonda would further boost his fledgling outfit.
“That boy is highly talented, he is a great star,” Nyirenda told KweséESPN. “I think he can fit in our philosophy.
“He is a marvellous player and if we can get him then yes, he will be a vital part of the team.”
However, Zambia already attempted to lure Musonda in 2016, and the coach has acknowledged the challenges that have accompanied his attempts to recruit this precocious talent.
“We have conflicting reports over the issue of his nationality, because yes, his parents are from here but the boys were born in Belgium,” Nyirenda continued.
“When you are reading some European texts they refer to him as Belgian U21 international, so it has been a little bit tricky for us to just say ‘here we are’.”
Zambia’s recent successes under Nyirenda include back-to-back victories over North African giants Algeria in September, while they also ran Nigeria close before eventually losing 1-0 in Kano.
Former U-20 stars Enoch Mwepu, Fashion Sakala and Patson Daka have made a seamless transition to the senior team, and while other former youth internationals such Emmanuel Banda and Edward Chilufya are waiting in the wings.
Musonda, who made 24 La Liga appearances while on loan with Real Betis over the last two seasons, would be a valuable addition to this talented collective.
He’s played twice for Chelsea in the Premier League this term – both times as a substitute – and scored his first goal for Chelsea in a Carabao Cup third-round clash against Nottingham Forest in September, earning some measured praise from coach Antonio Conte.
“He’s a talented player and he has to continue in this way and when there is the opportunity to help us he must do this,” the Italian coach told journalists, as per the Metro.