LAST week was an eventful week in the world of football, Zambian football in particular gave the nation something to smile about in these load-shedding times.
The Zambia Under-17 national team lifted the regional COSAFA Cup title after turning Mpira Stadium in Blantyre their home and won every match with impressive margins to be crowned champions for the second time in two years.
The Oswald Mutapa coached young boys beat Mozambique 2-0 in the final to lift the trophy.
Then the Chipolopolo senior CHAN team managed to make it to the African Nations Championship to be staged in Cameroon in January next year.
Zambia’s qualification to the CHAN at the weekend though was not without controversy as soccer fans stoned the team for what they termed lacklustre performance against eSwatini in that 2-2 draw that saw Zambia qualify on a 3-2 aggregate score line.
But our readers will remember what I wrote in this column that eSwatini was not coming to Zambia to play kindergarten games, they meant business.
And regardless of what ‘bad’ decision the coaches made leading to the opposition to equalise and Zambia almost losing the match, we must remember that eSwatini has been good on the road in these qualifiers.
They knocked out Malawi and Angola in similar fashion and therefore we needed to be aware of that away record by the Swazi nation.
Whatever the case, no one is supposed to throw stones on the pitch in protest against bad results or coach’s decisions in modern football. What those drunk supporters did at Heroes Stadium is simply stupid, unacceptable and uncalled for.
Anyway, Chipolopolo’s CHAN qualification follows the qualification of the Zambia U-23 national team’s qualification to the Pre-Olympic qualifying AfCON competition to be staged in Egypt next month.
The women national teams have also performed very well in recent history this is indeed commendable.
So let me congratulate the U-17 boys team, congratulations to the CHAN team and indeed the U-23.
It is also in order to give plaudits to FAZ for the preparations to ensure that our teams progress – job well done but you have a lot more work on your hands as the 2021 AfCON qualifications loom large.
Also real preparations to ensure that we go to Egypt and Cameroon and don’t come empty-handed must be intensified.
I know financially FAZ is in a precarious position because of the behaviour of the Ministry of Sports towards Football House.
We know for example that the U-23 was supposed to leave for international camping this week, play Kenya along the way and end up in Spain for the final preps but what happened?
We have seen that following the failure to qualify for the past edition of the AfCON, FAZ has been making strides to halt further such failures and we note the improvements made in ensuring that apart from mending the senior team, at least all age-group national teams including women national teams have not failed to participate in their competitions at least regionally. Kudos!
But the preparations for these three competitions must be different, must be more than adequate, we must ensure that we have a good start in the AfCON qualifiers, after all the tone has been set by the CHAN and U-23 teams.
We don’t want Chipantepante football at international engagements due to poor preparations, otherwise JOB WELL DONE ba FAZ on this one, Keep it up! Me my concern is my Chipolopolo and their juniors to excel, the rest is for politicians. BYE