Football

Sven should’ve used ‘Computer’

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
WHEN I just saw the Chipolopolo line-up before the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia, I was shocked that one player was missing.
I checked three times for midfielder Enock Mwepu’s name, but it was not there.
I then saw the name appearing on the substitute’s list.
I just shook my head in disagreement with Vandenbroeck’s decision to leave the player we call ‘Computer’ on the bench.
Being a must-win match, Mwepu was supposed to be among the 11 players to do battle for mother Zambia right from the start.
Vandenbroeck justified his decision by saying that since the match was played on an artificial turf, he did not want to expose the defence, hence the use of two defensive midfielders – Nathan Sinkala and Salulani Phiri.
But whether the match is being played on a natural or artificial turf, Mwepu is supposed to be in the starting line-up because of his creativity in attack.
The Chipolopolo were lacking a player that could unlock the Namibian defence and Mwepu was the answer.
Unfortunately, he could only watch from the bench.
The argument that Mwepu could not start the match because he was the last player to join camp does not hold water.
Vandenbroeck should have given the youngster the benefit of doubt.
The boy is talented and his skill is there for all to see. I hope Mr Vandenbroeck saw Mwepu’s brilliance in the 12 minute he was on the pitch.
When Mwepu replaced Phiri in the 82nd minute, the tempo of the match changed in Zambia’s favour and the Chipolopolo got the equaliser through Justin Shonga’s free-kick.
Austria-based Mwepu is a marauding midfielder who has impressed in the few games he has played for Zambia.
I expect Vandenbroeck and his technical bench to do things correctly when Guinea Bissau visit Lusaka on October 10.
The match against Guinea Bissau is a must-win if Zambia are to get back in contention for a slot at the Cameroon finals.
Players should be picked on current form and not on past glory.
Orlando Pirates striker Shonga and Lubambo Musonda, who is based in Armenia, are other players that deserve starting berths.
Shonga’s free-kick resulted in a goal in added time while Musonda saw his thunderbolt parried for a corner by Namibia goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
The team that played in the second half should be the one that should be selected when Guinea Bissau come calling at National Heroes Stadium in 28 days’ time.
Let’s talk football on sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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