By SANDRA MWILA –
NATIONAL football team coach Wedson Nyirenda says there will be no off-season rest for players that will be participating in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament starting next month in Morocco.
Nyirenda said, however, that all players should remain in top form even after the Zambian football season closed because modern-day football requires players to train even once a week during off season.
In a statement yesterday, Nyirenda said recess was for amateur players.
He said for the players that are in the national team, work had just started and that the team will be regrouping on Sunday in readiness for CHAN.
“Only an amateur player will switch off completely during the off season. For national team players, the war has just begun. We shall just give them a week’s rest and on Sunday, work starts as we regroup for CHAN,” Nyirenda said.
Nyirenda said the CHAN will not be an easy tournament and the players should be ready for continued battle on the pitch.
“The CHAN won’t be easy because of where Zambia has put itself in Africa, people are talking highly of us and we should not slumber because everyone will want to come at us,” Nyirenda said.
He said every team that carries the tag Zambia be it women, under-17, under-20 or under-23 should endeavour to perform to the best of their abilities.
Nyirenda said the national teams had improved tremendously and he has seen a number of improvements.
Zambia has been to the CHAN tournament twice in its four editions, making it to the semi-finals and finishing third in the inaugural tournament in 2009 then under Hervé Renard, before missing qualification to the next two editions.
Zambia qualified to the last championship which was held in Rwanda where the George Lwandamina-coached side lost at quarter-final stage on post match penalties to Mali.
In both appearances at the CHAN, Congo DR have emerged champions.