When Wedson Nyirenda imploded and self-destructed due to some arrogance of not choosing certain players who were doing well at club level and were wanted by fans, and, at the same time, insisting on other players who were clearly technically and tactically inept but loved by the self-same coach, a debate arose as to whether Zambia was ready for a local coach or not. The opponents of local coaches will for now hold their heads up while we flounder in the football wastelands and wilderness while Zimbabwe and Namibia are improving, while the proponents for a local coach should be gnashing their teeth after today’s showing. Clearly we are not ready to have a Zambian coach to coach Chipolopolo.
When Sven was leaving, the two local coaches touted as the best were Aggrey CHIYANGI and Numba Mumamba. With Green Eagles finishing the transitional league as the best team based on points tally, CHIYANGI is currently the best fit to coach Zambia. But has his selection and indeed his team’s display against minnows Malawi anything to sing home about? I think no. I will take the gamble and I will stick by that view whether we win the COSAFA Cup or not.
Zambia has been humiliated by Zimbabwe in two consecutive finals before last year’s shambolic outing. By all scores, we should be taking the COSAFA Cup seriously since we are perrenial failures to make the AFCON and World Cup. Seriousness starts with selection of players. Granted that no two coaches can have the same team selected given a chance, some principles should remain the same when selecting players for national duty.
First point, the players must be among the best performing players in the local or foreign league they play in. Secondly they should be playing for clubs that are doing well in their league and are fighting for honours. Thirdly there has to be a chance of chemistry among the selected players. We can’t just have a bunch of the best players. We need the best team.
With that said, why would a coach have a midfield of Benson Sakala, Austin Muwowo and Webster Muzaza? These three were not the best midfielders in the league save for Muwowo and they played for teams that struggled in the league. What happened to recruiting midfielders that did well in the league such as Kelvin Mubanga, Paul Katema, George Simbayambaya, Clement Mundia and Marvin Jere? What happened to John Ching’andu or if we wanted to strengthen it Clatous Chamas, Salulani Sakala and Donashano Malama? Our selection should be systematic. I suspect Chiyanga wanted players he coached before at Nkana, Eagles and – did he coach at – Power (Benson)? So local coaches for me won’t do because selection is not objective.
Let me substantiate.
Is COSAFA meant for young players or upcoming players or senior players? I don’t get the point of leave George Chilufya at home if you are playing Adrian Chama. Both are older players, the difference is that Chama struggled in the league and he has even been made captain while Chilufya was excellent and is home. If we are choosing based on age, let open it to everyone if Chama qualifies and that allows the likes of Sydney KALUME to play. Kalume was excellent albeit I would go with Simbayambaya or Katema or Clement Mundia.
Coming to the game, I am ok with Sebastian Mwange. He is very good keeper. He was jittery today and it happens when you debut. I was also ok with Thandi Mwape and Adrian Chama. Mwila Phiri was our best player. Gift Zulu doesn’t deserve to be in that team. He played in a struggling Nkana. Pick a right back from Paul Banda, Taonga Bwembya, Solomon Sakala, Shemmy Mayembe, Jimmy Nakena etc. Zulu has no pace, football sense, good cross like Mwila Phiri or height for set pieces.
Benson Sakala is slow and he has been culpable for many goals Power have conceded this season. The coach can’t play him against Zimbabwe. Surely with Tafadzwa Rusike, Billiat and Musoka this will be a massacre. Muzaza is not ready. He was making silly mistakes and his foul led to the second goal in a needless situation. Why play Muzaza when Austin Muwowo can play 8 and you can bring in Chitiya Mususu? Mususu was a revelation of this season and deserves to start. Bruce also deserves to start. Musakanya should play on the left, Mususu 10, Tapson or Kambole 9 and Kambole or Altezza 7. Alternatively, play Lawrence Chungu at left back and put Mwila Phiri on the right wing where he can cut inside and shoot.
I can go on and on but clearly we don’t have local coaches who will make objective selections for the national team and will also read a game and make timely subs without looking at faces. Our coaches need to be open minded.
A player scores and seconds later he is substituted? Like really?
And President Andrew Kamanga, aren’t you ambitious enough to want to win COSAFA? Why send a weak team to COSAFA and stronger one to useless friendlies that won’t bring honours? Isn’t it time you won a senior trophy in your reign? If I was the FAZ president, I would decree that coaches send strong teams to COSAFA. Why are we always rebuilding without finishing? Where are the players we rebuilt with two years ago like Lubinda Mundia, Silwimba, Mwansa Nsofwa etc? Why is Collins Sikombe at home? Paul Simpemba?
Anytime let’s hear the reactions and comments.