[By Bright Tembo]

ZAMBIA striker Patson Daka says the team is disappointed with the Tuesday night lose to Nigeria in the second game of the on going U23 AfCON in Egypt.

And Ministry of Sports permanent secretary Joel Kapembwa has told the U23 that they “are champions and champions never fail to make it”.

Daka, who was named Man of the Match in Zambia’s 3-1 loss to Nigeria, said he was very disappointed with the result.

“I am very disappointed with the result, we did our best in order to get the three points, unfortunately, it did not go our way,” he said.

“Everyone knew how important this game was and how the three points would have changed the situation but nevertheless we have to learn from what we have not done very well in this game. We have to move on to the next game.”

Daka feels that winning against Ivory Coast in the last group game on Friday would be the only way to keep hopes of qualifying to the semi-finals alive.

“We just have to concentrate on the last game and, of course, we are going for three points regardless of what will happen. We will fight on and go for maximum points because at the end of the day we do not know what will happen,” said Daka.

And Zambia Sports Fans Association patron Peter Makembo said the 3-1 loss to the defending champions was a painful lesson.

“It’s a painful defeat that we witnessed, a 3-1 loss to Nigeria we have learnt a painful lesson but I know the boys have what it takes to move on and finish off Ivory Coast in the last game tomorrow and hope that our regional rivals, South Africa, will do the job for us by beating Nigeria for us to book a place in the semi-finals,” he said.

Makembo also tipped the senior men’s team to beat Algeria in today’s first game of the 2021 Africa Cup of nations qualifiers that would be played in Algeria.

“With the Tuesday loss of our young boys, we hope that our senior national team will cool the hearts of the fans by beating the defending champions away and come and finish the international break by beating Zimbabwe next week,” said Makembo.

Meanwhile, FAZ president Andrew Kamanga has urged the boys to soldier on after 3-1 defeat to Nigeria on Tuesday evening.

Speaking to boys in Egypt on yesterday morning, Kamanga urged the team to forget about Tuesday’s results and move on.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) we didn’t have a good result and you need to forget about yesterday’s game. The only important game now is the one you are going to play on Friday and this is where we have to apply ourselves at 150 per cent. Whatever happens let’s make sure that we win Friday’s game because you have done it before and you are champions in your own rights,” he said. “So Friday’s game for us is a must win game. We win that game the rest will be determined by what happens in the other game [Nigeria vs South Africa] but I am very much confident that winning Friday’s game will still keep us in the tournament.”

Ministry of Sports permanent secretary Joel Kapembwa also urged the boys to look forward to the next game.

“Government is totally behind you. We are here to show solidarity. We know yesterday’s game was not very good but it is water under the bridge. What we should look forward to is the next game,” said Kapembwa. “We are champions and champions never fail to make it. I am sure you are prepared for the next game.”

Zambia opened its account with a 0-0 draw with South Africa before losing 3-1 to Nigeria.

The team winds up its Group B matches on Friday against Ivory Coast at Cairo International Stadium.

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