ZAMBIA has to qualify to the Africa and World Cups because the nation is tired of excuses for failure, says Sports Minister Vincent Mwale.
Mwale described the performance of the senior team at COSAFA and Africa Cup as very disappointing and yet the technical bench kept referring to each game as an eye-opener.
He said he saw no reasons for a formidable team losing to Malawi which it has historically been beating.
“We have failed to perform at Africa Cup and COSAFA, but they keep saying it is an eye opener. How long are we going to say each game is an eye-opener? We are tired of the embarrassment.
“It’s time we got the needed results. We are not accepting any excuse for not qualifying to the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup and the Russia 2018 World Cup. We have the players hence come rain or snow, Zambia has to qualify, “he said.
“There will be no excuse for failing to qualify to the Africa and World Cups, the technical bench keep saying each game is an eye-opener, its time Zambians got the needed results,” said Mwale.
He said Government was there to provide the incentives and it was up to FAZ to look for either a local or expatriate coach.
“We will soon announce how far we have gone in mobilising resources to pay a coach from the corporate companies. Patrice Beaumelle left because we could not meet his incentives for six months. We want to pay the coaches well so that there is no excuse for failing to deliver,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mwale applauded the Under-23 team for qualifying to the third round of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers after watching it beat Botswana 2-0 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Saturday.
He said the boys did not just get the goals but put up a fantastic performance, an indicator that they can beat any team on the continent.
“At least the Under-23 have put a smile back on our faces after the poor performance of the senior team at COSAFA. I am positive that with this kind of performance, Zambia can go all the way to Rio, Brazil. The boys will now meet Ivory Coast, let them remain focused and work harder,” he said.
And the Zambia Sports Fans Association chairperson Peter Makembo said the Under-23 had done the nation proud and was confident of beating Ivory Coast.
“The boys played good football and we are proud of them. We urge coach Fighton Simukonda to continue with his brilliant work and the fans will rally behind him,” he said.
Zambia Under-23 face Ivory Coast in the third round after a 3-1 aggregate score against Botswana.