GOVERNMENT will ensure that an expatriate coach is employed before the Chipolopolo begin the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, says Minister of Sports Vincent Mwale.
Mr Mwale said Government had expedited the process that will ensure that the expatriate coach FAZ had applied for was employed before the 2017 AfCON qualifiers.
“We have moved kilometres ahead in engaging the corporate world in assisting us in employing the technical bench that FAZ is asking for.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that this is done before the qualifiers start. Zambia is among the best teams on the continent yet has never been to the World Cup. That needs to change this time,” he said.
Speaking in an interview, Mwale expressed disappointment that the Chipolopolo failed to defend the Council of Southern Africa Association (COSAFA) Castle Senior Challenge Cup in South Africa after losing to Namibia 4-5 on penalties in the quarter-finals.
He said the team should have no excuse for losing to Namibia because the best squad was sent to the tournament.
“It’s disappointing that Zambia had to end the 90 minutes of the match on a barren draw. On paper it seemed we had sent the best team to the COSAFA tournament and expected the best out of them,
“Maybe it’s because Namibia had already played three matches before us hence the reason Zambia slowed down. This result has really exposed our weaknesses. Before the AfCON qualifiers, we need to put ourselves together. There will be no excuse for not qualifying to the AfCON and World Cup. We have to break the jinx,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister has applauded the Shepolopolo for beating Zimbabwe 2-1 in the first leg of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifier at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Sunday.
“For the girls it’s a good result but we shouldn’t have allowed the Zimbabweans to score. The technical bench needs to work on the players’ endurance level if we have to beat Zimbabwe in their own backyard. But the rest of the departments are fine and I am hoping for a win, “he said.
He said for the women’s team to qualify to the Olympic Games will be a great and historical achievement in women’s sport.
He said the girls had everything for this Sunday and encouraged them to remain focused. The minister and Sports Council of Zambia chairperson Mwamba Kalenga were on hand to give the Shepolopolo moral support at Nkoloma Stadium.