Grant picks positives from Malawi tournament 

Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant says the Malawi Invitational Tournament was important as it provided an opportunity to try out new ideas and also have a look at new players. 

Zambia drew 2-2 with Zimbabwe and beat Malawi 2-1 in the just ended Four Nations Tournament in Lilongwe.

In a post tournament reflection, Grant says he will soon be making an announcement regarding the captaincy of the Chipolopolo for assignments ahead.

The coach says he saw a lot of good things in the Malawi tournament where Zambia emerged third after playing Zimbabwe and hosts Malawi.

“This tournament was a target for us for preparations for the last time before we have qualifiers for the World Cup and for the Africa Cup that last time we came after nine years but now want to do it again,” he says,

Grant says with qualifiers for the next Africa Cup of Nations happening within a period of three months the Chipolopolo needed to be well prepared. 

He says the Malawi tournament had helped him see new players and also try out new things. 

“We did it very well, we tried different styles of play a little bit, new players that did not play in the first team and also not on the bench, they got a chance and we saw them not only by the games but also by the trainings, in hotel, how they behave because national team is different, you need to know that you are representing the country,” Grant says.

“I think it was very good because we played well in the games, we had a lot of situations where we passed the ball very well, secondly we scored every game two goals, fantastic goals with the team effort, every goal started before with a few passes. The players that did not play before now and got a chance, most of them showed that they can be in the national team.”

He says despite some lapses in the backline for the first game, the team improved in the second game.

“By the defense in the first game, we did not defend well and we conceded two easy goals which we wanted to learn from and we learnt from this. In the second game it was a new back four that did a good job, very good job even the goal that we conceded was a set piece that was an individual mistake,” he says.

“I did not like that we conceded two easy goals in the first game but this tournament is about learning that we will not make these mistakes in the important games.”

Grant says the door is open for any performing player as there is no one with a permanent place in the national team.

“When I came I said that I want to create a big squad of 30-40 players so that from them I can choose the players that will be good for the team. This is one of the targets for this tournament (Malawi),” he says.

“All the players that trained with us, the young players, the local players, we gave them a chance here and they did not let us down. They did a good job and I cannot guarantee anything. Maybe for June, it will be the same squad like today, maybe it will be other players.”

“It was good to see the players from abroad and other local players we have had before giving 100% percent in training and during the games,” he says. 

He adds: “In the league I saw a lot of games in the weeks that I was here in picking the team. Now I will also monitor the players that are abroad as I said the national team is not a closed club, the door is open for both sides, the players that will prove themselves will be in the squad, the players that are not will need to prove themselves for the next time.”

Grant has also hinted at possible shake-ups in the Chipolopolo captaincy set up ahead of forthcoming assignments.

“We are starting a new tournament (phase), so one of the things is who will be the captain, I am thinking about this. A captain needs to lead by example and for me it is more important, the captain needs to show all we are talking about, fighting spirit, commitment to the national team ,” he says.

“I think the players that were captains in this tournament did a good job, they showed that they can be one of them but we will announce the captain soon.”

By FAZ Media 

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