SOCCER fans have described Zambia’s ejection at the on-going Africa Under-23 Championship as humiliating.
Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZSFA) chairperson Peter Makembo said the 3-2 loss to South Africa on Tuesday was embarrassing and difficult to swallow.
Makembo said the coaches used to speak about the ‘‘Rio 2016 Olympic dream’’ before the team left for Senegal, but their performance in Dakar on Saturday and Wednesday was a total disaster.
“We are extremely disappointed with the result. It is a bitter pill to swallow. We cannot believe that South Africa came from behind and scored three goals in a space of eight minutes.
‘‘It’s really an embarrassing loss. It’s like we went to Senegal just to fulfill the fixture,” he said.
He said the technical bench needed to put their house in order so that such results were not repeated at senior level.
“The technical bench in Senegal is the same one at senior level. We have the World and Africa Cups qualifiers, so they need to get back to the drawing board,” he said.
Meanwhile, midfielder Lubambo Musonda says it will be a disgrace if Zambia lost all the three matches at the on-going Under-23 Africa Nations tournament and challenged his team mates to beat Senegal on Saturday.
Musonda said the team must defend the country’s honour as they will be playing for pride against Senegal.
He said it was unfortunate that the team has been ejected in the group stage through a 3-2 loss to South Africa on Tuesday and 2-1 to Tunisia on Saturday.
“It is a very disappointing defeat. We put up a good show in first half but slept a bit in the second half and South Africa capitalised on our weakness. But we still have to play for pride in our last game,” he said.
And FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya says the players should now focus on winning the CHAN title and cover up for their early eviction from the Dakar finals.
Bwalya said it was unfortunate that Zambia lost Wednesday’s game which they commanded in a space of eight minutes.
“The South Africa match was a must win, we let ourselves down. In the first half we seemed to be in control and after we scored there was not so much danger coming from South Africa,” he said.
“At the end we did not step up to take the opportunity that was before us. We go out learning the hard way. We have to recover and start to prepare for the CHAN now,” he said. Bwalya had in the past said that among his ambitions as FAZ president was to qualify Zambia for the Olympics.
Bwalya was an instrumental player at the 1988 South Korea Olympics and scored a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-0 victory over Italy.
On Saturday, Zambia plays a game of pride against hosts Senegal.