Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has made changes to the national team technical bench, dropping George Lwandamina and bringing in Wedson Nyirenda.
Prior to his appointment, Nyirenda was at the helm of Mozambican side Ferroviaro de Beira where he had trekked having had coaching engagements with City of Lusaka, Zanaco, Zesco United and Green Buffaloes locally.
There is little doubt that Lwandamina is one of the best gaffers locally and did his best to raise the profile of the national team though some may argue that the Chipolopolo are worse off now than he found them.
He did all he could to steer the Chipolopolo to higher heights, but his biggest undoing was failing to guide Zambia to the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations.
Lwandamina led Zambia to the 2016 Rwanda African Nations Championship quarter-finals.
In the qualifying race for the 2017 Gabon finals, Zambia won once, drew four times and lost once to finish third in Group E with seven points, three behind winners Guinea Bissau.
Zambia failed to win all the three home matches, which is highly regrettable.
Lwandamina oversaw 24 games – winning nine, losing seven and drawing eight.
For Nyirenda, he needs to continue from where Lwandamina left – I mean taking the team up the ladder from the basement.
I have had time to interact with Nyirenda and I find him to be a greater motivator and disciplinarian.
Tactically, he is gifted and just about the man we need for the job. Of course, I rate him higher than Gordon Igesund, the man FAZ surprisingly settled for in the name of an expatriate coach.
Anyway, I expect Nyirenda to assemble a formidable team for the 2018 Russia World Cup qualifiers.
He has to find time and watch Super Division matches along the line of rail. Nyirenda also has to watch Division One matches because there is abundant talent in the lower ranks.
Nyirenda will be incharge of the Chipolopolo before FAZ engages an expatriate coach.
Nyirenda is familiar with Zambian football, having won Super Division titles at Zesco United and Zanaco, including various silverware at the two sides.
He was also part of the reconstituted national team after the 1993 Gabon air crash that claimed the cream of Zambian footballers.
Nyirenda brings experience to the Chipolopolo having played for Nchanga Rangers, Power Dynamos and South African side Kaizer Chiefs among others.
On Saturday, I was glued to the television set watching the Super Division Week 25 match between Lusaka Dynamos and Nkana that the latter won 2-0.
But I was disappointed that some Nkana fans were clad in Manchester United replicas.
Apparently on Saturday, Manchester United were in action against Manchester City.
There is need for fans to be clad in their teamâ€™s colours as a way of showing patriotism.
Time is ripe for Zambian fans to be proud of local clubs.
The money fans use to buy foreign teams replicas could be used to purchase local attire.
Nkana, Mufulira Wanderers, Kabwe Warriors, Nchanga Rangers, Power Dynamos, Zesco United, Zanaco and Green Buffaloes among others, have a large following across the country and all these teams are selling replicas.
Going forward I want to see a situation where Wanderers and Nkana fans will be clad in their respective teams colours when the legendary sides will be battling it out.
No one will promote local replicas apart from ourselves.
I wish Zesco United success in Saturdayâ€™s CAF Champions League semi-final first leg against Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
The secret of progressing to the final is by winning by a cricket margin at home.
Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI