Zambia opt for rest instead of Gabon game

African champions Zambia will not play again until June after the team shelved a friendly against Gabon, instead opting to rest their players after their Africa Cup of Nations exertions earlier this month, officials said.

Earlier this week, Zambia said they were hoping to return to the scene of their penalty shootout final triumph against Ivory Coast for a friendly next Wednesday, but have now decided against those plans.

"We started our training camp in South Africa in November and had the players together for a long time, so we feel it would be important for them to settle with their clubs and also have some rest," Zambia Football Association spokesman Erick Mwanza told reporters.

He said Zambia had received an overwhelming number of requests to play matches in the wake of their first Nations Cup triumph but had turned them down for the time being.

Their next game will be a 2014 World Cup qualifier away to Sudan on June 2.