THE 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) got underway yesterday with the first game painfully featuring Guinea Bissau, the team responsible for our stars watching the competition from the comfort of their couch and also a subdued interest from the Zambian fans.
We agree that it hurts to miss out on such an important tournament and the questions that come are obviously that what went wrong because Zambia should always be at the AFCON finals and also challenging for the title.
But I have been looking back at the Chipolopolo performance over the years especially in the post 2012 heroics; I have noticed that we have been receding at a very fast rate.
In trying to retain the title in 2013, Zambia was out at group stage with the same feat repeated in the 2015 edition, for the 2017 edition, we did not even make the finals and worse, we could not take the fight to the last day.
But instead of caressing the anger, it would be better to pragmatically look forward and with the draws made for the 2019 edition, it would be important to focus on the future.
I strongly feel the transition has been badly handled with FAZ shifting policy from building a team on one day to getting results on the next day. Looking at the team right now, I don’t what the FAZ is trying to achieve! Are they looking at a long term solution or its just immediate result?
We all know that what is needed is a new young team with the coach given a long term mandate to build a team, that’s how we won the Africa Cup. Our coach is still in caretaker state.
We are going it the wrong way by changing coaches too much and my count says three coaches in the last 18 months. Not a good sign at any point.
As a country desperately needing a change in fortunes, FAZ needs to put out a plan now that will focus on the future and as long as we keep dreaming that we shall qualify to the Russia 2018 world Cup, we shall be delaying time of making progress with the team.
Five points off the pace after two games is not the best of ways of trying to qualify to the World Cup nut we have the 2019 AFCON that look really exciting for Zambia and seemingly a compensation for the troubles handed to Zambia in the World Cup draws.
Namibia, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau is definitely better than dealing with Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria and this should be chance to qualify with aplomb.
But of course our players, despite winning the Africa Cup have to be reminded to keep their heads low so they avoid the catastrophe that Guinea Bissau just handed Zambia.
Meanwhile, the AFCON is one and I am off to watch Zimbabwe which I must say I will be supporting at this tournament and I hope they do a Chipolopolo-2012 by winning the continental title.
May the best team win AFCON.
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