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Chambeshi got tactics wrong

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
JUST after the African Nations Championship in Morocco, there was debate about Beston Chambeshi’s suitability to take over from Wedson Nyirenda.It was clear Chambeshi’s fans were sure their man was better than Nyirenda and looked forward to him taking over the reins as Chipolopolo coach.
And they overlooked his record at Nkana.
And yours truly, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) seemed to have been privy to the debate and handed Chambeshi the mandate to lead the Chipolopolo to the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup in Polokwane, South Africa.
Chambeshi could not have been any luckier than facing southern African minnows Namibia and Madagascar on the way to the final, where we lost to sworn neighbours Zimbabwe 4-2.
I was therefore convinced that Zambia would equal Zimbabwe’s five COSAFA titles but I got it wrong.
No sooner had striker Ronald Kampamba smashed the cross-bar in the 90th minute than Zimbabwe striker Philana Kadawere equalised to make it 2-2 and the match went into extra-time.
After that, Zimbabwe took control of the match and Khama Billiat netted a brace for the Warriors to win 4-2.
The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for most Zambians.
What went wrong? These are the questions that soccer fans are asking themselves across the country.
Chambeshi failed to read the match, period.
He could have done better with his substitutions.
He could have introduced defensive midfielders or defenders instead of strikers.
There was no need to unleash striker Ronald Kampamba for two-goal hero Lazarus Kambole.
Other substitutions saw attacking midfielder Collins Sikombe replacing Kelvin Mubanga while another attacking midfielder Ngosa Sunzu was introduced for John Ching’andu.
Even at the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, Chambeshi got his tactics wrong.
In the last round of 16, Zambia were leading 3-1 against Germany and with five minutes remaining, the Europeans scored two goals for the match to go into extra-time.
At the time Zambia were leading, I and other journalists Elias Chipepo and Augustine Mukoka were preparing to go for a post-match press conference and Germany scored two quick goals.
Thanks defender Shemmy Mayembe scored a cracker of a goal in extra-time for Zambia to win 4-3 at Jeju World Cup Stadium.
Three days later, Zambia led 2-1 against Italy and with a few minutes to full time, the young Azzuri scored two goals and they won 3-2 to advance to the semi-finals.
The junior Chipolopolo could have gone all the way to lift the trophy in South Korea had Chambeshi got his tactics right.
Anyway we cannot cry over spilt milk and let’s hope preparations for the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia are in progress.
The match against Namibia will be in Windhoek in September.
By the way, when is FAZ naming the Chipolopolo coach?
sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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