(By Darious Kapembwa in Beira, Mozambique)
FRESH from denying Zambia a place at next year’s AfCON finals, Mozambique national team coach Abel Xavier is pinning his hopes on the Chipolopolo to do him a favour by beating Namibia in the last match in March to give his team a chance to qualify.
The Mambas ended Zambia’s aspirations of a return to the continent’s biggest soccer showpiece after beating the Chipolopolo 1-0 in Maputo last month.
The result left the group ‘favourites’ Zambia languishing bottom of the group and consequently missed out on the finals for the second consecutive time.
In an interview, the ex-Liverpool star said he still believes he has a bright future owing to the young talent in the current squad.
“I still believe we can qualify. I still believe for the sake of pride, Zambia will beat Namibia by more than two goals which means we can qualify with draw or win in Guinea Bissau,” Xavier said.
“I think Zambia is still a strong footballing nation with good infrastructure. They have good young players from the U-20 that went to the World Cup, so yes, the future is bright. I have been following Zambian football. It’s very interesting…. I believe Zambia will do us a favour in the last game.”
Xavier said Mozambican football is under transformation since he took over citing an example of the two victories over Zambia, which he termed historical.
He boasted that he used the U-23 team to beat Zambia with only three senior players.
“The team that beat Zambia in Maputo is mostly U-23 players because I am looking at the future. I want to leave a strong foundation for future coaches to thrive,” said Xavier.