No need grieving about 2-1 loss to Nigeria as there could still be positives to take home. News that President Edgar Lungu has backed Wedson Nyirenda should come as a relief to proponents of a qualified local coach to lead the Chipolopolo. Granted the country has had issues with the band of local coaches that have presided over the Chipolopolo questioning their credentials and also their ability to independently select teams. Questions have also arisen over the challenge how much remuneration they should take home. However, apart from Kalusha Bwalya local coaches have struggled to be given a decent remuneration package. Local coaches have half the time been shuttling between chasing even the little that is due to them and also having to do their job. Nyirenda showed shades of composure and could provide another test case for local coaches. Besides, the country could do with a local coach that could be given a long term plan beyond just the high pressure world cup qualification that admittedly a very long shot for Zambia.
While Zambians go to town scandalizing local coaches whose tireless service to country in years past they quickly forget, they should know that few of these coaches have been given the respect they deserve. Except Kalu who demanded an expatriate contract at the time he was coach others have just had to give up on their backlog of unpaid remuneration. Who has forgotten the case of Ben Bamfuchile? Even Honour Janza may still have a strong case for owed payments but may have backed down given he still has a job at Football House as Technical Director. Do not be surprised if George Lwandamina comes out over money issues. So with President Lungu backing Lungu FAZ should push and ensure that Nyirenda gets a decent contract that will ensure he has no excuse for performance. If the said US$10, 000 on the table is true then once the contract is signed there should be no question about him having to go to public before he is paid.
With the added advantage of Nyirenda knowing the ins and outs of Zambian football there could be something positive to come from a local coach. After all at the first try he did show that he could be as good as anybody and the two-time Zambian Coach of the Year should look to assembling a strong team with the backline being a starting point.
The 2-1 loss may not be any less than we deserved and maybe realistically Zambia should take off their eyes from the Russian campaign and focus on building a strong team starting with a strong youth base.