By FELIX MALUNGA -
THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has said it gave national team coach, Patrice Beaumelle the freedom to pick his own assistant and that the association will only hold him accountable for the results.
FAZ has since advised the football fraternity against judging newly-appointed Chipolopolo assistant coach, Chintu Kampamba even before he takes up the national team duties.
Asssociation vice-president, Boniface Mwamelo said FAZ gave Beaumelle the latitude to pick his preferred choice for assistant coach and that the decision was based on past experiences.
Mwamelo, who is also FAZ technical committee chairperson, said when Dario Bonetti was appointed Chipolopolo trainer in 2010, the association engaged Lucky Msiska as his assistant but the Italian was not comfortable to work with the former Zambia midfielder.
“We gave Patrice the latitude to pick his assistant. As FAZ, we also don’t interfere with player selection. So our position as the FAZ executive committee is that we only hold the coach accountable for the results. This issue is premised on the experience we had in the past with Bonetti,” Mwamelo said in an interview in Ndola yesterday.
He said because of the Msiska appointment, there was persistent infighting on the Chipolopolo technical bench, leading to the resignation of one of Bonetti’s Italian assistants, Birindelli Alessandro during the 2010 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania.
Mwamelo said FAZ does not want a recurrence of what transpired during the Bonetti era and that for now it was only Beaumelle who could defend the appointment of Kampamba.
“Lucky Msiska’s issue was not pleasant as it could have even cost us the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification. Even after Msiska left the senior team for the Under-23, Dario deliberately called some players, who were eligible to feature for the Under-23 in the All Africa Games qualifiers, to the Chipolopolo squad just to ensure Msiska failed,” he said.
The FAZ vice-president also observed that the Kampamba issue had been overblown and that Zambians needed to give him a chance to prove his worth.
On former FAZ general secretary, Paul Simukoko’s claim of Kampamba being a fringe player for the Chipolopolo, Mwamelo said: “It doesn’t work like that. For example, Phil Neville left Manchester United for Everton because he couldn’t command a place in the team but he still came back as assistant coach to David Moyes.
“How come Jose Mourinho, who doesn’t have a single cap for Portugal, is coaching some of the big names in global football. Even at the England squad, Fabio Capello picked Stuart Pearce, whose credentials can’t be compared to Harry Rednapp, as his assistant but Capello believed in him.”
He also said if Beaumelle by whatever reason was not available for the Chipolopolo assignment, it was not automatic that Kampamba would take charge of the team.
Mwamelo also explained that Beaumelle’s preferred choice of Kampamba was because of a certain work ethic in the squad which former Chipolopolo coach, Herve Renard left.
The appointment of Kampamba as Beaumelle’s assistant has raised an uproar from some sections of the Zambian football fraternity who are calling on FAZ to revoke the decision.
On FAZ president, Kalusha Bwalya’s call on local coaches to acquire the CAF ‘A’ Licence certificate for them to be eligible to drill the Chipolopolo – the matter which also caused a debate among Zambians, Mwamelo said the statement by his boss did not affect the national team assistants.
He said Kalusha was talking more about the head coach for the Chipolopolo.
“The president was talking more on the requirements for a head coach not assistants. For example, some of the coaches in charge of English Premier League teams are more qualified than England assistant coach, Gary Neville,” the FAZ vice-president added.