Football

Sven should guide Chipolopolo to AfCON

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
IT’S official that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has engaged Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck as national team coach.Vandenbroeck, 38, is expected in the country this week to sign a contract and immediately start preparations for the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations.
Vandenbroeck was part of the Cameroon national team technical bench as the Indomitable Lions won the Africa Cup of Nations title in Gabon last year.
He brings experience to the Chipolopolo bench.
Having lost 1-0 to Mozambique in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Ndola last year, the country expects the Belgian to assemble a squad that will beat Namibia in Windhoek in September this year.
The Chipolopolo cannot afford to lose to Namibia because it will complicate the chances of qualifying for the Cameroon finals.
FAZ should set targets for the Belgian, and qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations finals should be top on the agenda.
Having missed out at the 2017 edition, failing to qualify for next year’s continental showpiece will be a disaster.
Vandenbroeck should assemble a formidable side that will travel to Windhoek to collect maximum points.
All deserving players should be given an opportunity to don national colours.
There are some players such as Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala and Kabaso Chongo that can add value to the Chipolopolo set-up but were allegedly not in good books with former Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda.
Kalaba and Sinkala are Africa Cup winners and they have a lot to offer to the country.
I am sure Vandenbroeck knows their quality and will not hesitate to summon them for the clash against Namibia.
Vandenbroeck should also take time from his busy schedule to travel across the country and tap talent.
Zambia is not only Lusaka and the Copperbelt, but all the 10 provinces.
Former Chipolopolo coach Herve Renard travelled to all parts of the country and it was not surprising that he spotted defender Emmanuel Mbola.
At 16, Mbola made history by becoming the youngest player to feature at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
He was part of the Chipolopolo side that reached the quarter-finals at the Angola tournament.
Zambia has talented players and the onus is on Vandenbroeck and his Chipolopolo bench, including FAZ technical director Moses Sichone, to spot talent that could be useful for the national team.
FAZ should arrange at least three international friendlies for the Chipolopolo to enable Vandenbroeck to assess as many players as possible.
Local coaches – those who have been at Chipolopolo and those who have not been – should give the Belgian the opportunity to work.
Back-stabbing one another to gain favours from the Belgian will not do.
Let the Belgian make independent decisions based on what he will find on the ground, not back-stabbers.
Apart from expertise, Vandenbroeck brings a spirit of reconciliation to the game for players and coaches.
Enjoy watching the World Cup as it enters the quarter-final stage this weekend.
Find me on sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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