Sport

Next coach should be for long haul

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
HAVING failed the minimum test of qualifying the country to the Africa Cup of Nations despite having one game to play, coach Sven Vandenbroeck became a dead man walking.
The only surprise was that despite the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) having given him performance targets, which he meekly failed to meet, they were entertaining the idea of extending his stay at the helm of the Chipolopolo.
Fortunately, on Monday FAZ confirmed that Vandenbroeck’s last match is the dead rubber 2019 Egypt Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia on March 23.
The only surprise though in the statement issued by FAZ is that they are demanding for a resounding victory against Namibia.
Whether that happens or not, it changes little, if anything; the country’s ego has already been bruised with failure to qualify for the second consecutive time to the Africa Cup of Nations.
Vandenbroeck replaced Wedson Nyirenda in July 2018 and his record in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying race going into the Namibia match stands at one win, two losses and one draw.
Hardly inspiring.
Of course by the time the Belgian was engaged, Zambia had already lost 1-0 to Mozambique in a qualifier played in Ndola on June 10, 2017.
He then led Zambia to a 2-1 win over Guinea Bissau in Lusaka on October 10 and drew 1-1 with Namibia in Windhoek on September 8.
But afterwards, Zambia lost 2-1 to Guinea Bissau in a return fixture and the 1-0 to Mozambique to effectively close the curtains on the Chipolopolo’s ambitions of making an 18th appearance at the continental showpiece.
I have always said Vandenbroeck may be a good coach but the time he was given to be in charge of the Chipolopolo was rather too short.
He was given five games to prove himself. Which coach in the world can prove his or her worth in five games?
Manchester United have given interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over 30 matches to prove that he is equal to the task of managing the 20-time English Premier League champions.
The 30 matches are in the league, cup competitions and UEFA Champions League.
The 30 matches are enough for the United hierarchy to make a decision whether Solskjaer has met the benchmark or not.
FAZ should ensure that a coach they will engage should be given a three-year contract.
Focus should be placed on qualifying Zambia to the 2021 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations finals and the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Zambians are eager to see the Chipolopolo qualifying for a maiden appearance at the World Cup and 2022 should be the target.
The players are available and what the coach needs is to pick the best arsenal from a big pool.
***
Zesco United and Nkana will be away this weekend in the Confederation Cup group stage matches.
Zesco will be in Khartoum, Sudan, to face Al Hilal, while Nkana are in Kumasi to take on Ghanaian outfit Asante Kotoko.
The two teams should forge forward and believe that they can get desired results on foreign territory.
Zesco drew 1-1 with Al Hilal in Ndola while Nkana thumped Kotoko 3-1 in Kitwe.
All the best of luck to the two teams and let’s speak football on phiristeve4@gmail.com, sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm




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