Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
GREEN Buffaloes’ 4-0 bashing by Egyptian side Al Masry is a wake-up call for football authorities to fast-track reforms meant to make Zambian clubs more competitive.
I am reluctant to blame Bilton Musonda and his charges for the capitulation because the problem of Zambian teams’ lamentable failure is more historical than anything else.
Zambia’s football development is understandably poor but it is an exaggeration that no club has come close to winning any title since Power ’90 in 1991.
Questions abound: Are Zambian clubs so poor that they cannot make an impact on a continent as average in football as Africa? So what could be the major problem? I am sure local football gurus have the answers.
My suggestion as the football fraternity tries to find an answer is for Football House to immediately change the league cycle so that it is in tune with the big guys in West and North Africa.
Zambia plays football when leagues elsewhere are on recess and vice-versa. The Africa Cup is played when our league is inactive. The net effect of that is that we cannot compete on equal footing with clubs or teams whose players are active.
If we compete favourably, then it would be a miracle as the case was in 2012 when Zambia won the Africa Cup title.
From 2019, the Africa Cup of Nations will be played in June when our league is at its peak.
We have talked enough and now is time to act. And no one should tell me that football cannot be played in Zambia during the rainy season. That is old school mentality which should be discarded.
In any case, it rarely rains in the rainy season in Zambia now.
We need to upgrade our stadiums.
Back to Buffaloes, they now need to score five unanswered goals in the return leg next Tuesday to stand a chance of progressing to the first round.
I know they have tried to raise their chin but seriously, the 4-0 loss is always too much to overturn, everything considered.
But this is football where impossible is nothing. So, give it a try, after all you’re known as Go Boys Fight and Conquer (GBFC).
Champions League envoys Zesco United were held to a goalless draw by Jeshi la Kujenga Uchumi (JKU) of Zanzibar while Zanaco are certainly through to the first round after bashing Gambia Armed Forces 3-0 in Lusaka.
I am very sure that Zesco will beat JKU in Ndola next Tuesday and Zanaco will finish off the Gambians on February 24.