The Zambia bench has defended its continued call-up of bench-warming Under-20 stars for international duty.

The Nkana duo of defender Moses Nyondo and midfielder Boston Muchindu in particular have become standard call-ups despite seeing very little club action since returning from the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea in June.

Zambia assistant coach Aggrey Chiyangi said in an interview in Ndola that the duo was not being favoured but were part of the bench’s long-term junior player developmental programme.

“When I say that we are chosing a team on merit, you have to look at so many things and we have so many teams in the league,” Chiyangi said.

“For instance if I say we want to pick a left-back we always to look at the teams that are available, we look at what they can offer, how they are playing and commitment.”

He said it would not help the players to sideline them.

“So, for Boston Muchindu and Moses Nyondo, I think if we leave them out now it’s like we have killed them because these boys played well at the Under-20’s and then if we leave then out because they are not playing at their club then we will lose them at some point,” Chiyangi.

“We know that competition is high at Nkana for them to feature so we cannot just leave them out just like that. We just have to build them up because we know their potential. Very soon they will start playing at Nkana. It’s no to going to take long.”