THE road to Qatar 2022 World Cup finals was unveiled on Tuesday and Zambia was drawn against Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania in Group of the African qualifiers.
While the draw might looks relatively fair on paper, it may turn out to be another difficult assignment for the Chipolopolo who still do not have a coach.
Planning is very key for a team success to negotiate past a group stage and two legged play-off to reach the World Cup finals. We should have by now a coach to make that plan for the team than having these differences between the Football Assiciation of Zambia (FAZ) and Ministry of Sports.
It is sad the relationship between government-who are the major sponsor of the Chipolopolo as well as payers for the coach salary-and the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) seem to be deteriorating everyday.
This raises questions to how seriously the relevant stakeholders are interested in seeing the team performs well. It is sad that we can, up to now from the time Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck contract expired, we can be entangled in the issue of hiring a coach.
The two embarrassing defeats against Algeria and Zimbabwe in the Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers were not by accident but our own doing and failure to set the priorities right.
As former Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda observed, Zambia should have had a coach as in yesterday looking at the workload ahead of him. This new coach will have to come to understand the players, the football politics with only a month in between before the AFCON qualifiers get underway.
FAZ has now on two occasions attempted to hire a coach but its seems it’s preferred candidates have failed to impress the payers.
Guess it is time the Ministry of Sports told the nation whom they really want to appoint as coach. Soccer fans should not be made to suffer for the differences Sports Minister Emmanuel Mulenga might have with FAZ.
Zambians deserve better and football is the only thing that has proved to bring about unity and productivity in a nation.
But at the moment the morale among fans is at its lowest and some news that had encouraged them that FAZ had hired Serbian seem to have been evaporated after delay by government to approve the candidate.
Mind you, this is not the first time government has rejected FAZ preference for a coach.
Former Botswana and Bloemfontein Celtic trainer Veselin Jelušić last time around was almost named as Zambia coach but he got rejected and FAZ was given a whole list of guidelines to follow to appoint another coach.
And during this period, our opponents have been progressing while Zambia has been going two steps backwards. Now after the guidelines were sent and procedure followed-its seems our Ministry has more issues which I feel they should let the public know.
We should equally bear in mind that the money we are offering is too little to attract a world class coach and Micho is this in-case what Zambia can manage at US$10, 000 though it’s supposed to raise to US$22, 000 with FAZ expected to top up.
And the Micho has received many offers and it not only Zambia that is interested.
“Since December, I’ve received offers from left and right. I’ve been offered a job by Pyramids in Egypt, from Club Africa in Tunisia, from MC Alger in Algeria, from Wydad Casablanca, the Zimbabwe national team, the Ghana national team, the Zambian national team.
“Also with Al Taawon, one of the top five in Saudi Arabia, and Al Ain in United Arab Emirates. “All these offers are part of life, but, for me, I’m at a crossroads and I need to choose whether to go for a club or national team,”.
So when one compares the amount of money offered, it would have been wise to tie up a deal quickest than look so disorganised and make the coach seek other options in as much as it is no secret Micho’s love and admiration to coach Zambia.
So there standoff between the Ministry of Sports and FAZ is not benefitting anyone but hurting an innocent fan who wants to go to a stadium and watch his team win so he can celebrate and try to forget whatever problems s/he might have.
He sooner this coach recruitment is sorted out the better for Zambian football otherwise we shall continue to have caretaker coaches-who are committed with their clubs and will have little time with the national team.
So what next for Zambian football?
Till next week, wish you all a blessed sporting weekend and remember to interact via email on firstname.lastname@example.org