By Bright Chikele:
French club Lille have signed Zambia international defender Stoppila Sunzu on a permanent deal from from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
The 27-year-old, who initially joined Les Dogues on a season-long loan last summer, was snapped up for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal, according to the French Ligue 1 side.
“Lille feels very much like home and I am delighted to continue my career here,” said Sunzu who made 16 appearances in the north of France, scoring twice.
The BBC reports that top Lille official Jean-Michel Van Damme is delighted to tie the Zambian down to a permanent deal.
“Every time we called on him, Stoppila proved effective. He has already integrated and is highly respected in the squad,” said Van Damme.
“Sunzu is not only a great professional but also a great gentleman. He’s a great addition to the locker room.
“We are very pleased to have been able to sign him, especially with the challenges of the Europa League, where we will require his competence and strong commitment to help the club.”
Sunzu’s arrival last July saw him reunite with then manager Herve Renard for the third time having played under the Frenchman for Zambia and French side Sochaux.
The pair enjoyed international success together in 2012 when Renard led Zambia to the Africa Cup of Nations title, with Sunzu scoring the winning spot-kick in a penalty shoot-out win over Ivory Coast in the final.
Sunzu, who represented his country at the 2007 Fifa U-20 World Cup in Canada, has made 59 senior appearances for Zambia since making his debut in 2008.