The Zambia national soccer team should take the international friendly match against Egypt seriously because it is an opportunity to gauge the team’s preparedness for the forthcoming CHAN and World Cup qualifiers.
Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZSFA) patron Peter Makembo told the Daily Nation yesterday that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)’s choice of the Pharaohs was a perfect one looking at the North Africans’ record in continental football.
Makembo challenged the players to live up to the expectations of the fans by coming out victorious in the match to boost their morale, adding that there was need for a positive mentality from those selected for the assignment.
“First of all FAZ has done a commendable job by courting Egypt for an international friendly. We all know the capability of that team because their track record in African football has been outstanding.
‘’Playing such a team gives you an insight of the strength of the team for future engagements and so our players should not be complacent; they need to take this game seriously,” Makembo said.
He urged the payers not to be intimidated but play according to the coach’s game plan and realise that the whole nation will be behind them, expecting a positive result.
“Those players who have been selected should realise that they will not just put on the jersey for passing time. This is because there are other players who would have been drafted in the team but the fact that they were called for the assignment demonstrated that the technical bench believed in them.
“When they put on that jersey, they carry the responsibility of the 14 million Zambians and therefore they should understand that they should play according to plan because when they lose, all the Zambians are affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Makembo has praised Government’s decision to drop plans to hire an expatriate coach, saying there were plenty of Zambians who could get the job done for the national team rather than relying on expatriate coaches whose salaries were exorbitant.
He said Zambia had lost a lot of money in the name of hiring foreign coaches most of which failed to deliver good, adding that time to empower local coaches had come.
“Look at the money expatriate coaches are given yet most of them have not achieved anything. Not long ago, we went to Kenya and beat them at home with their foreign coach yet we went there with a local coach.
‘‘These huge sums of money which we want to spend on theses foreign coaches can be used for other things. So, Bwana Sports Minister we salute you for your decision.
‘’Let us empower local coaches by investing in programmes that will sharpen their skills,” he said
He also thanked Government for its continued support to sports in the country.
FAZ has secured an international soccer friendly against Egypt in Dubai on October 11.