FORMER Zambia national soccer team coach Patrick Phiri says the Chipolopolo aspirations should now shift to lifting the Rwanda 2016 CAF African Nations (CHAN) title.
Phiri said all the teams that qualified for the tournament were potential cup winners and therefore the players should not become complacent.
He said the same fighting spirit exhibited during the qualifiers had to continue to bring honour to the country.
“In each game, the boys’ fighting spirit grew stronger. Any coach could tell that the boys were thirsty for qualification. The aspiration should now be to win the title,” he said.
He said coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina had built a formidable team capable of emerging champions at the tournament.
“There is that great combination among the players. We are able to tell who can partner well with Winston Kalengo or Christopher Munthali. The competition among the players is high, which is good for the game,” he said.
And ex-international player Evans Sakala said he was happy with the talent among the local players.
Sakala said it was encouraging to see local players stage a good game without the professionals.
“It’s like we have built a team B. This will create competition among the Zambian footballers. The players put up a good fight,” he said.
He called for more friendly games to help the team adequately prepare for the tournament.
The Chipolopolo Boys beat Mozambique 4-1 on aggregate to qualify for the CHAN tournament.
Zambia joined hosts Rwanda, DR Congo, Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, Guinea, Nigeria, Niger, Gabon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Angola.
The remaining two spots will be decided this weekend, with Côte d’Ivoire hosting Ghana in Abidjan on Friday and Congo welcoming Cameroon in Brazzaville on Saturday.
The Ghanaians recorded a 2-1 victory in Kumasi in the first leg, with Cameroon and Congo playing out a goalless draw in Yaoundé.