WE played a better side, it is football we accept it, interim Chipolopolo coach Aggrey Chiyangi admitted after the 5-0 drubbing by Algeria in 2021 AfCON qualifying opener in Blida on Thursday night.
Seeking a return to the AfCON, many hoped for a better start from the Chipolopolo especially that recent history against Algeria favoured us going into the game.
Chipolopolo put in a decent shift the opening 44 minutes until Youcef Belaili headed in a poorly defended corner on the stroke of half time to give the home side a 1-0 half time lead.
After the break, the ‘Desert foxes’ were hungry for more, they attacked relentlessly reducing the majority of Zambian players to mere passengers as they moved the ball around with relative ease.
Skipper Kabaso Chongo had a torrid time dealing with Algerian stealth winger and captain Riyad Mahrez who made the TP Mazembe defender panic with every touch on the ball and when Kabaso needlessly hacked him early in the second half, Ethiopian referee Tessema Weyesa pointed to the spot and Bounedjah Baghdad scored the penalty for a second goal.
It was all Algeria from then on as Zambia looked disorganised and many fans took to all forms of social media platforms to berate the underperforming Chipolopolo who were promised US$5,000 each in winning bonuses.
Algeria then scored three more goals in quick succession to make it five-nil leaving Zambia to ponder on the next game in three days’ time against rival neighbours Zimbabwe in Lusaka on Tuesday.
“We made mistakes especially the first goal. Instead of attacking the ball, we were just watching and then we conceded a penalty again. We could have avoided that penalty. From there they got the energy, I think that is where everything started to …” a humiliated Chiyangi said. “We have lost but again, before the game, there was no way we were going to come here and say we’re going to lose. Every team when you play a game you have to be focused on winning the game. Yes, we played a better side as well, it’s football. We accept it, only those who don’t understand it because if you leave space here and there you can be punished.”
The Green Eagles coach said his team has learnt lessons from the mistakes made in the Algeria loss and would work on them ahead of the Zimbabwe clash.
“We tried to push harder to see that we equalise, the only thing…What is important is to learn from the mistakes from this game. There are so many things that we have seen and we will work on them,” said Chiyangi.