By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
ZAMBIA yesterday threw away a chance to remain in firm contention for a place at the FIVB Poland 2014 World Cup by losing 3-1 to Cape Verde in a match they could have easily won in Nairobi, Kenya.
Smarting from a 3-0 loss to Group U favourites Botswana in the opener, Zambia went into this game with intent to win and stake a claim for a World Cup spot but lack of concentration in the closing stages spoiled the party.
Zambia lost a closely contested game, going down 25-21, 31-29, 25-27, 25-21 to all but give up the race for a top place finish that guarantees a World Cup spot.
Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA) president, Gabriel Muyinda, who flew to Kenya to rally the players, said from Nairobi yesterday that the team could have easily won this game but let their opponents recover towards the end to take the points.
“We lost 3-1 to Cape Verde in a game that leaves a sour taste. This is one game our boys should have won. We need more exposure for the players as well as the bench,” a disappointed Muyinda said.
For Zambia, it was a second straight loss after the tournament’s opening match resulted in a 3-0 loss to Botswana after Peter Kombaniya’s men had offered reasonable resistance only in the first set but easily tumbled in the last two.
The other game of the competition saw hosts Kenya take a similar easy win off Cape Verde, who now take pleasure in the beating of Zambia.
Botswana were resting yesterday with Zambia’s next opponents tomorrow being Egypt.
Zambia will close its account against Kenya and rest on Monday, when the other four teams take to the courts.
ZAVA general secretary, Charles Haambote said. “Competition at this level is very tough. We are happy to expose our youngsters to top level volleyball. Last time any Zambian team played at this level was in 1996. So we are at least going up again”.