THE recent performance of junior teams at their respective continental competitions says a lot about the present and future of Zambian football.
As much as the teams worked hard to qualify for their respective Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournaments, the performance at these competitions leaves much to be desire
I felt sorry for my son, Junior, who kept cheering on the Under-17 sides with belief that they will at-least get a draw but alas went to bed a sad boy as South Africa looked more determined to win than Zambia.
Firstly, it was the under-20 that was booted out of the Morocco 2023 AFCON in the first round.
Much was said and much is still being said over that disastrous outing.
And before the dust could settle, the under-17 team was at it again.
Whichever way one looks at it, the Ian Bakala side is as good as eliminated because the chances of progressing to the quarterfinals are more the word slim. IN-FACT, the lads are on the verge of exiting the competition due to some serious mathematics at play in Algeria having lost two of the three group games.
Zambia started the tournament on a wrong footing having lost 1-0 to Nigeria before succumbing to a 3-2 loss against COSAFA compatriots South Africa.
This leaves the lads with only a possible three points against Morocco although chances will be highly mathematical, in fact, only scientific calculators would work even if they beat Morocco because they cannot finish third.
It is really sad to be back on calculators again. This has always been the case with most Zambian teams be it at junior or senior level.
Let us not forget the under-23 that failed to qualify for the AFCON.
The dismal performance of these junior teams should be a wakeup call to the football authorities that something somewhere is not right.
There is need to invest more in grassroots because this is the foundation. These are the teams that are supposed to be feeding the Chipolopolo but if the ground is not firm enough to hold the roots, the tree will definitely not survive.
We have been asking ourselves why we have failed to qualify for the AFCON three times in a row, not knowing that part of the answers are staring right back at us.
Only when the base is strengthened will we see a trickledown effect, otherwise the current scenario is something that needs urgent attention.
We have a lot of good players, very good players for that matter but being a good football player is not enough for a team sport.
Wishing you a wonderful sporting weekend and let us interact via email on firstname.lastname@example.org