By GRACE CHAILE –
FORMER England and Liverpool winger John Barnes says Zambian football has tremendously improved in the last three years.
Barnes, in an interview upon arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) yesterday, said that Zambia has a strong and quality side but that it could get better if players started playing in the competitive European Leagues.
He said Zambian players should strive to breaking into the European leagues to enable them get the needed experience which in-return can greatly benefit and help the national team reach greater heights.
Barnes is in the country at the invitation of Standard Chartered Bank Zambia to conduct a series of coaching clinics at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) with clubs from Matero and Chunga Townships.
Having watched some Zambian players plying their trade in the South African Premier Soccer League, Barnes said the standards of the game had improved owing to the Chipolopolo winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in 2012.
“I have watched some few Zambian players especially those playing in South African league and I think Zambia has good players. The standard of football has improved after they managed to lift the Africa Cup in 2012,” he said.
Barnes, who was part of the Liverpool side that won the English league title in 1990, said Zambia was on the right path towards securing qualification for the FIFA World Cup finals because it has a competitive national team but needs to instill discipline and desire to reach that level.