IT IS not that Zambia’s opponents at the on-going Senegal Under-23 Africa Cup tournament were better but they beat the junior Chipolopolo Boys because they approached the game with the right attitude, says former national team coach Patrick Phiri.
Phiri said it was unfortunate that Zambia lost all the three matches yet they had talented players.
He said the players just needed to have the right attitude in all the games because they dominated play but lost concentration at times, hence conceded silly goals.
“What the players need is to always put their hearts into the game. I have no doubt that Zambia had a formidable team but lacked the right attitude. The coach can give instructions, but the onus remains on the players,” he said.
He said the tournament was an opportunity for the players to showcase their skills and get international recognition.
“Qualifying to the Olympics could have been a plus for the budding players. Now it’s in the past and the players need to look ahead. They are still young and capable of rising again.
‘‘Criticism is always there but they should not feel discouraged. There are players that have failed today but tomorrow are heroes,” he said.
Phiri said the players still had a chance to cover up for the poor performance in Senegal by reaching the semi-finals of the forthcoming CHAN tournament in Rwanda this January.
“We still have a chance to prove that Zambia is a good side. Zambia’s target at the CHAN should be the semis. With the right attitude, Zambia can do it,” he said.
And Phiri has hailed South African club Mpumalanga Black Aces striker Collins Mbesuma for his consistent performance at both club and national level.
“I am impressed with his continued good performance. The striker aims at scoring goals, and he is doing just that. He has remained disciplined and truly a hard worker,” he said.
Mbesuma on Friday scored the second goal for Mpumalanga Black Aces in a friendly match against Kaizer Chiefs played at FNB Stadium.