CHIPOLOPOLO captain Kennedy Mweene says he has recovered from Wednesday’s howler in the AfCON group tie against Guinea-Bissau and is heading into the return match tomorrow strongly.
Mweene says he is positive the energy the young players bring in the team would erase the pain of 2016 when Guinea-Bissau, following a goalless draw in 2015 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium – in which Mweene had a late penalty saved – went on to dramatically win the return leg 3-2 to deny Zambia qualification to the 2017 AfCON finals in Gabon.
On Wednesday, with Zambia leading 2-0 as the match approaching full time, Mweene’s poorly attempted pass to Stophilla Sunzu hit the legs of oncoming Guinea-Bissau striker Frederic Mendy and rolled into the net, turning the game on its head and providing a nervy end to the tie.
In an interview, Mweene said he was unhappy with himself because he had let the nation down at that moment.
He said experience had taught him that it’s in such moments that one has to quickly pull himself together.
“I was very sad, unhappy with myself because at that moment I felt I let the nation down. But I am experienced now and experience has taught me that I needed to pull myself together quickly because if you lose focus in those moments, you can concede more,” Mweene said.
Asked if coach Sven Vandenbroek had spoken to him about the incident, Mweene said: “He doesn’t need to tell me that I made a mistake. I am experienced enough to know that I have made a mistake and I must recover and correct that. We have spoken about the game and the focus is now on the return match.”
Mweene said tomorrow’s match won’t be easy.
“We needed this (Wednesday’s) result because we had put ourselves under pressure when we lost the first game to Mozambique but with this win it means we are back on track. The game in Guinea won’t be easy but the pressure is on Guinea, not us. Playing at home in these games comes with pressure. Now they won’t be able to sit back and wait for us like they did today, they will attack and by so doing create spaces that we can explore with our passing game. This time it will be different, the young lads are bringing in so much energy, so I am confident we will come out with a good result,” said Mweene.
All teams in Group K, which also includes Namibia, are tied on four points.