UNDENIABLY, Zambia has been thrown in a really tough group for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers and to most, its game over in trying to play at the globe competition.
My opinion, in truth, would not stray too far from that line of thinking.
Nigeria, Cameroun and Algeria does not sound like an ideal collection to motivate a struggling team like Zambia to make a maiden World Cup.
Those three group rivals have all been to the World Cup on more than three occasions each with Cameroun’s count coming up to seven and four for each of the two other group members going there four times each.
We have a mammoth task ahead of us if we decide to put up a real fight to make the Russia World Cup but like I have previously said in this column, we do not seem like a team capable of qualifying for this World Cup.
Great to hear Kalusha Bwalya and others say we can still make it and the tougher the opponent, the better Zambia plays and grinds out results.
But I feel this team has really struggled in the last few years, and even after making a decision to reconstitute a team after the class of 2012 seemed to be on the way out as poor performances and accompanying results saw the FAZ back track on this decision.
Honour Janza, who was leading the transformation of the team, got dropped for Lwandamina and so did his ideas of team rebuilding.
Here is what I feel should happen, the target for Zambia should move from Russia 2018 and onto Qatar 2022 and that will mean paying attention to the Under-20 team and a few players from the Under-23 to lead this charge.
When Kalusha took over as Zambia’s coach, he took a brave decision of phasing out some aging legs and entrusted the younger stars like Chris Katongo, his younger brother Felix Katongo, drafted in Stopilla Sunzu, Collins Mbesuma and Kennedy Mweene among others.
It means letting go of some trusted players like Elijah Tana and late Mark Sinyangwe among others but that comes with job security and focus.
With Lwandamina not having a long term job, he will be duty bound to look at today’s results and not focus solely on rebuilding.
The current crop of players to build from is not so inspiring looking at how badly they played against Namibia in the COSAFA Castle Cup plate final on Friday night.
We are going to need a shrewd unpopular decision in order to get into the rebuilding mode and care less about immediate results.
I know that to get what we don’t have, we have to do something we have not done which in this case is to get to the World Cup, and it should not be business as usual.
I would like to congratulate Kabange Mupopo on wining another gold medal at the Africa senior championship and retain the continental title she took as a little known runner but more of a footballer.
With concentration on athletics only and fending away temptations of the 200m sprints, she can only get better. For comments write: firstname.lastname@example.org