MULWANDA LUPIYA, MATHEWS KABAMBA, Ndola
FORWARD Collins Mbesuma says the Chipolopolo will qualify for the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations finals despite losing to Mozambique in
a Group K match.
And coach Wedson Nyirenda will overhaul the Chipolopolo to bring in a fighting spirit.
Chipolopolo were booed on Saturday after Mozambique stunned them 1-0 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola to end Zambia’s long-cherished status of having not lost to the Mambas in the modern era.
The defeat left Zambia at the bottom of the group, three points behind leaders Mozambique and Guinea Bissau, who edged Namibia 1-0 in Bissau on Saturday.
Mbesuma said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that the players are eager to do the country proud in the remaining games.
“It feels bad, it is really bad that we lost this game which we so much wanted to win. But it is football. We share the pain of our fans, we really do but they can’t just give up.
“Don’t rule us out. I believe we will come back stronger. It is still a long way to go, we will make them [fans] smile again,” Mbesuma said.
He also attributed his substitution to lack of fitness.
“I just played three games for my club [Highlands Park] since that injury. And I just played 50 to 60 minutes. So for me I am not closing the season because I have been put on an off-season fitness programme. But we didn’t do much to win. It’s Mozambique who wanted it more, but we will bounce back,” he said.
Mbesuma was withdrawn at half-time for Dave Daka.
And speaking in a post-match interview at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Saturday, Nyirenda said he is eager to inject fresh blood into the team to revive the Chipolopolo’s fortunes.
“When I came in, the main objective was to rebuild the team and that is what we are doing. Soon we will have more new faces in the team. To sum it all, I don’t know why there was no passion from my players today [Saturday].
“We have worked with the under-20 and we have seen a lot of passion and responsibility. Last weekend we were in Libreville with a very new team that stood against the senior team of Gabon. And we almost won by a cricket score, so I think we need to take some measures going forward,” Nyirenda said.
Zambia’s next AfCON qualifier is against Namibia in March next year.
Meanwhile, Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga is disappointed with the Chipololopo’s performance.
“It is a very bad result, we won’t pretend that we are happy. We will sit with the technical bench and see where we go from here, this was very bad,” he said.