Football

Triple shame

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
THE pride of Zambian football is highly at stake following embarrassing losses our representatives suffered at the hands of minnows last week.
Zambia risks having no representation in the prestigious CAF Champions League if Zanaco and Zesco United do not win this weekend.
Zanaco and Zesco lost their CAF Champions League first round, first leg matches to Mbababne Swallows of Swaziland and Ivorian side Asec Mimosas, respectively, last Wednesday.
Zanaco went 2-1 and need to carry the day by two or more goals in Mbabane on Saturday while Zesco lost 1-0 and must win by at least two unanswered goals in Abidjan on Sunday to progress to the group stage.
Nkana, the Confederation Cup representatives, were beaten 3-0 by Algerian side CR Belouizdad and need to win by 4-0 in Kitwe on Saturday to qualify for the second round.
This is the dilemma that the three clubs find themselves in.
These results are shocking and embarrassing for Zambia.
Without aiming any derision at Swaziland’s status in the game, it is embarrassing that Zanaco to lose to a country that may not have known what a match ball was before Zambian coaches migrated.
Mbabane Swallows beating our revered Zanaco was actually a scandal of great proportion and should be reversed to restore order in the hierarchy of football.
There is no way those low-flying Swallows who are self-confessed football nonentities can eliminate Zanaco, no. I command Zanaco to thoroughly beat them and progress to the group stage of the Champions League where they belong.
Losing to them at home is a disgrace that requires immediate correction. It requires almost no effort to eliminate the Swazis, doesn’t it?
And then Zesco, the champions, going down to a finished Asec, at home for that matter! How on earth could the gods have allowed such a result?
With all that investment in the club, Zesco should elevate themselves to the top drawer with the likes of Wydad Casablanca, Zamalek, Al Ahli, TP Mazembe instead of wallowing at the basement of the ladder.
Asec are but a spent force with only history to boast about. But they have something up their sleeves and should be looking forward to finishing off a Zesco side whose management may have watched with glee as the visitors pounced.
The result possibly justifies management’s reported position to re-hire George Lwandamina as trainer and retain Tenant Chembo as an eternal bridesmaid.
With or without Lwandamina, Zesco must summon all their football prowess to eliminate the West Africans. The truth, though, is that it will be a very difficult match for Zesco.
How about Nano? To be brutally frank, they must restart and think about next season. Good luck to the three teams.
sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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