Hours after he witnessed his charges give up the continental crown they won last year in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, Chipolopolo Boys Coach Herve Renard has now cast his eyes on qualifying the former African champions to the Brazil 2014 World Cup championship.
Zambia bowed out of contention at the ongoing 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa after a string of draws against Ethiopia, Nigeria and a 0-0 result against Burkina Faso to complete their disastrous outing on three points from as many games and failed to qualify for the quarter finals.
Renard said he was optimistic that qualification for the first ever World Cup outing for Zambia was possible and expressed his intentions to retain most of the players in the current team instead of making hasty and drastic changes following the early ejection of the champions from the tournament.
“We have a fair chance that we can make the trip to Brazil because we have players who are optimistic in their resolve to play at the highest level and against the best players in the world” Renard said.
In his modest nature, the Frenchman also absorbed responsibility for his charges’ dismal performance in the group stages especially against Burkina Faso on Tuesday when they needed just one goal to confirm their passage to the quarter finals saying qualifying to the World Cup was another task the team had embarked on and intend to achieve.
He said apart from defending the coveted Africa cup title, his team had also planned to work hard and qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup adding that after their two games against Ghana and Sudan where they reaped six points, he was optimistic the Chipolopolo Boys would qualify.
The former African champions are in the same group with Ghana, Lesotho and Sudan and play their next game away to Lesotho on March 9th or 10th 2013.
“We will be home in June and with hard work there is hope that we can get six points before travelling to Ghana for the final match” Renard told journalists in South Africa.
FIFA awarded the Chipolopolo Boys a win against Sudan after the hosts featured an ineligible player to give Zambia six points following a win over Ghana in Ndola.
Last year the Fox, as Renard is fondly known guided the Chipolopolo Boys to their first ever Africa Cup victory against Ivory Coast and the Frenchman is optimistic his charges can pull another surprise and qualify for Brazil World Cup next year.