COACH Wedson Nyirenda was undoubtedly the worst player on that fateful day of January 27, 2018 when Zambia lost to the less fancied Sudan in the quarter finals of the CHAN tournament.
As an ardent soccer fan, I sensed that the game was lost even before it had started.
Nyirenda featured all the Zambian players on yellow cards in the final group game against Namibia thereby risking their availability in the quarter finals, to which they had already qualified. Hence, Silwimba was automatically ineligible to play the quarter final after he was shown another yellow card.
To seal the void left by Silwimba, Nyirenda decided to draft in a first time national team call-up John Mwangeni, in the central defensive position and transferred Adrian Chama to the right side of the defence. All is water under the bridge as the rookie Mwangeni was the weak link in defence, who caused the only goal Sudan scored.
Nyirenda also made strange decisions in that quarter final game by preferring striker Martin Phiri, who had never started a game at the tournament. He also substituted in-form striker Lazarus Kambole for a blunt Friday Samu as the game progressed.
On the other hand, Sudan did their homework and marked winger Mbewe out of the equation to cut off that vital supply to the strikers. Prior to the start of the tournament, Nyirenda dropped accomplished striker Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba for a bulk of less experienced ones. He also gambled and took midfielder Godfrey Ngwenya, who was injured early in the only preparatory match in South Africa, but never saw any action in Morocco as he did not recover.
After all these schoolboy errors, does Football Association of Zambia still keep faith in Nyirenda?
DISAPPOINTED SOCCER FAN