Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
ZAMBIA National Service (ZNS) have marched Green Eagles coach Justin Chinama to an indefinite leave.
Reason: The ZNS command is not happy that Eagles are flying third from bottom with 16 points.
Chinama becomes the sixth Super Division coach to be sidelined this season.
Wilson Mwale (Napsa Stars), Tenant Chilumba (Power Dynamos), Kaunda Simonda (Forest Rangers), Weston Mumba (Mufulira Blackpool) and Allan Kamwanga (Lumwana Radiants) are the other coaches that have been axed this season.
When a team is performing well, players take the credit but when the opposite happens then the coach is bad.
Most of the teams have rushed into firing coaches without tackling the problem.
Teams should invest in quality players if they want desired results.
I do not think Chinama is a bad coach. Last season, Chinama guided Eagles to a 10th place finish and remained in the job.
I am sure, with time, Chinama could have found the right formula.
Every team goes through a rough patch and ZNS could have given Chinama the benefit of doubt.
But this is football; the coach has to bear the brunt, which in my view is cosmetic.
The decision to sideline Chinama, on secondment from the Zambia Army, was seemingly made when Manfred Chabinga was attached as technical advisor.
Chabinga, who ditched Mufulira Wanderers in April this year, has been handed the mantle and the herculean task of rescuing Eagles from the turbulence of relegation.
There may be more to Chinamaâ€™s sidelining than meets the eye.
For now, I wish Chabinga well in his task.
National team captain Rainford Kalaba has spoken. He wants experienced players for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Kalaba says with a formidable team, Zambia can compete favourably with Group B opponents and possibly qualify for a maiden World Cup appearance.
Zambia have been drawn with Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Kalaba mentioned Collins Mbesuma, Kennedy Mweene and the Katongo brothers Christopher and Felix as some of the players that should be considered for the World Cup qualifiers.
Mbesuma, Mweene and Christopher were part of the team during the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers while Felix has not been considered for national duty in the last two years.
Kalaba has a point but he should know that national team positions are not personal to holder.
Experienced players should prove to the technical bench that they deserve a position in the national team by remaining competitive.
Some young players such as Lubambo Musonda, Salulani Phiri, Charles Zulu and Spencer Sautu, among others, are knocking on the Chipolopolo doors and it is imperative for the older ones to stand up and be counted.
The national team coaches should also summon Zanaco strikers Fashion Sakala and Aubrey Funga and Nkana forward Walter Bwalya.
Sakala has scored eight goals while Funga has netted six times and Zanaco are on top on the Super Division log.
Bwalya has 10 goals at par with Zesco United goal-poacher Jesse Were.
Deserving players should be given chance to prove their worth for the national team.
Sakala and Funga are better than Conylde Luchanga and Patson Daka, who surprisingly were part of the COSAFA squad.
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Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI