ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
AT his official unveiling yesterday as new Chipolopolo coach, Sven Vandenbroeck (below) said almost all the right things, but he certainly knows that it is based on results on the pitch that he will be solely judged.
Nonetheless, his commitment to opening national team doors to all deserving players will have endeared him well to those soccer fans who believe that the door was shut rather too quickly for the likes of Rainford Kalaba.
The former Chipolopolo captain and his TP Mazembe counterparts, Kabaso Chongo and Nathan Sinkala, are some of the players that were overlooked by Vandenbroeck’s predecessor, Wedson Nyirenda.
But it now looks like the coach wants to start on a new slate by assembling what he would consider the best possible side as the Chipolopolo seek to qualify for the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations.
“Everybody has a chance with me, everything is open,” Vandenbroeck said at his official unveiling in Lusaka yesterday. “Maybe I can give them a call – those who can play 100 percent.”
There are those who may be worried that with the qualification campaign for the Africa Cup already under way – Zambia lost to Mozambique 1-0 in the first match of the qualifiers at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in June last year – he has probably come a little too late.
But Vandenbroeck, who served as assistant coach to Hugo Broos for Cameroon during the World Cup qualifiers, where they came up against Zambia in the same group, says he has seen almost every Zambian player.
“Technology has made it easy for me, I watch Zambian players, I watched them at the tournament in Morocco [African Nations Championship], I have enough information on my computer,” the Belgian said.
He is confident that despite the 1-0 loss against Mozambique, the Chipolopolo can still make it to Cameroon. Vandenbroeck, who is yet to discuss his assistants with the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), believes that with five games still to be played, qualification can easily be achieved.
And FAZ president Andrew Kamanga reiterated that the immediate task for the Belgian is to qualify the team to the Africa Cup.
“FAZ believes that it has selected a right coach with the right credentials to take us to the Africa Cup next year,” he said.
ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka