By SANDRA MWILA At Woodlands stadium –
Zambia 0 Ethiopia 0
FANS yesterday turned against the Chipolopolo to support visitors Ethiopia as they watched their team struggle to grind out a result in an international friendly match.
In the last 10 minutes of this game, with a scoreless draw eminent,the fans changed colours tojeer every Chipolopolo touch and instead cheered whenever Ethiopia got the ball.
This was not the first time this happened as similar scenes were seen at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium when Zambia was losing 1-0 to Mozambique in a 2019 Africa Cup qualifier.
A disappointed Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda could not mask his displeasure at the happenings and expressed disappointment at the fans for not supporting their national team.
“The fans, it seems, are no longer Zambian supporters, they support other teams. If they don’t support their team, who are they going to support? I don’t know what they want because we played well,” Nyirenda said.
Fans yesterday filled-up the 10,000 sitter stadium to the brim such that the sale of tickets outside the stadium had to be stopped to control the crowds.
He said however that the game against Ethiopia was a good test match ahead of thefinal round of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifieragainst South Africa this weekend.
“Otherwise, it was a good warm up, we have seen what we wanted which is cohesion, wecreated good scoring chances, we just didn’t score,” Nyirenda said.
Perhaps the team was missing hitman Brian Mwila who just trekked to Platinum Stars in South Africa.
Nyirenda later hinted about his focused and that the team will work on their errors ahead of the SouthAfrica match that he has targeted to win.
“We have no pressure playing away, we beat Swaziland 4-0 at their homeand we can do the same against South Africa,” he said.
While Swaziland is a lesser opponent compared to South Africa, Nyirenda will draw strength from the 2-1 away win his side recorded over Bafana Bafana in an international friendlyin June this year.
In yesterday’s game, Zambia wasted chances with FacksonKapumbu heading high from close range off an Augustine Mulenga cross on 11 minutes.
Mulenga took his turn at missing in the 17th minute when his powerful shot from insidethe box was tipped over for a corner by Ethiopia goalkeeper JamalBushura before Ernest Mbewe wasted another Zambia chance in the 25th minute by hitting the side netting.
A minute later Justin Shonga directed his shot from inside the box straight at goalie Bushura arms and then Kondwani Mtonga headed high towards the end of the first half after a cross from Kampumbu.
The second half had little to offer with the talking point coming as fans turned against their Chipolopolo.