Zambia has a good team but lacks hard work resulting in poor performance in international events, says former national team coach Patrick Phiri
Phiri said it was disheartening to see the Under-23 men’s team join the list of the national teams that have failed to progress to the next stage of the competition.
The Under-23 on Sunday failed to qualify to the 2015 Congo-Brazzaville All Africa Games (AAG) after they lost 2-1 to Nigeria in a match played at Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium.
“Zambian football is going through a bad phase yet very possible to change. We have good players, coaches and administrators but have relaxed after winning the 2012 Africa Cup. That spirit of hard work is completely gone,” he said.
He said the ‘‘dream team’’ was there, however the administrators and coaches should brainstorm to achieve good results at the next tournaments.
“The team that can deliver at the 2017 Africa Cup is there, but administrators and coaches need to put heads together to achieve good results,” said Phiri
And Phiri said the Under-23 boys played well especially in the first half but became excited, hence making costly mistakes.
“Zambia commanded the entire match but failed to utilise the opportunities. The boys got excited in the first half and also lost concentration in second half,
“The Nigerian strikers scored because the defence was sleepy. We could have progressed to the AAG,” he said.
He advised the players to work harder at league tournaments because they had the potential to make the national team.
Commenting on the women national team’s failed assignment, Phiri said the players could not be blamed, looking at their inadequate preparations.
“Their performance was as a result of the confusion by the administrators (Football Association Zambia). For them to come from behind to beat Tanzania 3-2 at home shows the fighting spirit and with adequate preparations, they could have qualified,
“I watched them at Under-20, they are good players that can win a cup for Zambia,” he said.
He called on FAZ to organize friendly games that will keep the Shepolopolo in shape as they focus on the 2016 Africa Women Championship (AWC) slated for Cameroon.
The Shepolopolo failed to qualify to the AAG finals after losing 5-6 on aggregate to the Twiga Stars of Tanzania.