THERE is need for adequate preparations if Zambia’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) team is to do well at the Rwanda tournament next year, the Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZSFA) has said.
Commenting on Zambia’s qualification to the 2016 CHAN tournament via a 4-1 aggregate win over Mozambique on Sunday, ZSFA patron Peter Makembo told the Daily Nation that the tournament will not be easy.
Makembo said there was need for FAZ to quickly draw up the training schedule for the team so that planning could start in good time.
There should be no room for complacency after a good game against Mozambique which was bundled out of the tournament.
He said that there were no longer underdogs in football and that banking on the team’s previous records would be suicidal as all the countries would want to beat Zambia because it was one of the soccer power houses in Southern Africa.
“First of all, we congratulate the team for the qualification because this is what everyone expected from the boys. For us, we are happy that after trooping in numbers to Mozambique, they put up a spirited fight to ensure that they finished the job by qualifying to this tournament.
“However, there is no need for the players and the technical bench to get carried away by what we have achieved so far because qualifying is one thing while playing at the CHAN tournament is another.
‘‘There are teams we have beaten before in other tournaments and for them this is for pay back time. They will go to Rwanda wounded,” Makembo said.
He said the fact that the FAZ/MTN league was coming to an end meant that the technical bench needed to monitor the players from their clubs before they regrouped to prepare for Rwanda.
“It will be tricky for us because our league is going on a recess and that means most of these players will be inactive for some time. So the technical bench should coordinate with the players by monitoring what they will be doing in their various clubs during the off-season,” he said.
Makembo thanked Government for facilitating the fans’ travel to Mozambique, saying their presence made it easier for the Chipolopolo to foil the Mambas’ plans of causing an upset.
Zambia last played at the CHAN tournament in 2009 where they came out third in Ivory Coast but failed to make it to the 2011 and 2014 tournaments respectively.
The draw for the final will be held in Kigali on November 18, 2015. Rwanda will host the 4th edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) from January 16 to February 7.