THE appointment of George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina as Chipolopolo acting coach to replace sacked Honour Janza has come at a wrong time when the national team is preparing for the crucial 2017 Gabon Africa Cup qualifier against Guinea Bissau this Saturday, says former Football Association of Zambia vice-president Emmanuel Munaile.
Munaile said Lwandamina was a good coach but FAZ could have waited after the qualifying match to make the changes on the Zambian bench.
“The appointment of Lwandamina as acting coach has come at a wrong time. In as much as FAZ could have valid reasons, waiting after the match was better. I know he is an experienced coach but it’s not easy for players to adopt to his philosophy in three days,” he said.
FAZ yesterday announced the appointment of Lwandamina as acting coach of the Zambia national soccer team taking over from Honour Janza.
FAZ website reported that Lwandamina assumed the job immediately and his first assignment was the Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match between Zambia and Guinea Bissau, to be played at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Saturday.
Lwandamina was introduced to the players on their arrival from Ethiopia at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe yesterday.
FAZ said that Janza will continue in his post at technical director and wished him well.
Zambia Soccer Fans Association chairperson Peter Makembo said the appointment of the new coach few days before an important game might have serious implications on the performance of the team.
Makembo said Lwandamina has not been with the team for some time now and wondered how he will approach the Guinea Bissau match.
“It is bad news for us soccer fans. You just don’t change a coach a three days before the match; what a decision? Janza had already built a team ahead of Saturday’s match.
“The decision was too soon and we hope it will not have a negative impact on the team’s performance. Janza should walk with his head high,“ he said.
Makembo however said that fans will rally behind Lwandamina because he was a local coach.
Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) president Yotham Mwanza said the timing could be be wrong but was confident that Lwandamina will do a good job.
Mwanza advised Lwandamina to put on a strong character as he expects serious criticism if the team loses.
“Lwandamina has been with the national team at the 2010 Africa Cup hence he has experience.
He is not a magician to change the misfortune overnight. We will support him in his journey as coach,” he said.
The firing of Janza came less than 24 hours after the team managed to beat Ethiopia 1-0 in an international friendly on Sunday in Addis Ababa to prepare for this Saturday’s crucial encounter against Guinea Bissau.