SOCCER fans who condemned the inclusion of ‘tired legs’ Isaac Chansa and Chris Katongo into the CHAN 2016 Zambian squad should apologize and accept that the two have not only vindicated themselves but brought experience and passion to the team.
Chansa and Katongo have individually steered the Chipolopolo to the knock stage of the CHAN Rwanda 2016 with each scoring a goal in the successive matches the team has played to reap the maximum points from each game.
Chansa was on target when the Chipolopolo humbled rivals Zimbabwe 1-0 in the ‘battle of the Zambezi’ first match of Group D while Katongo was the darling of the match in the second game against Uganda when he scored the lone goal to ensure Zambia’s passage to the quarter finals.
Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) chairman Yotham Mwanza laughed at the critics and added that the two veterans have vindicated and accounted themselves well as they have shown that they still have what it takes to win title.
“They know how to combat failure on the pitch. They won the 2012 AFCON and now they are showing the young players how it should be done in a competition where no team should be underrated” Mwanza said.
He appealed to fans to continue supporting the team including Coach George Lwandamina who has so far done a recommendable job by tutoring the team and commanding team work.
“Lwandamina has done well. We have noted team work and the players have indeed raised the barrier beyond pain in their quest to bring glory to the country. Qualifying to the last eight with a game to spare is not a joke” Mwanza said.
And Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Kalusha Bwalya has praised the players and the technical bench for qualifying the team to the quarter finals of the ongoing CHAN 2016 in Rwanda.
“Obviously we are delighted for the Chipolopolo. It’s a fantastic result for the boys and nation. Congratulations to coach Lwandamina for a very improved performance and qualification to the quarter finals. I can’t remember the last time Zambia went through after two games in competition,” Kalusha said.
Kalusha urged the players to keep their feet on the ground and continue with hard work adding that it was important for the team to keep the good momentum going.
“It’s credit to the growing team spirit. Going into the last group match and the knock out rounds, we must work hard to maintain this resurgence of our players and team,” Kalusha said.
Kalusha also paid tribute to the fans that have been travelling to Rwanda to cheer the team saying “Thank you to the traveling Chipolopolo faithfuls who made it to Rwanda and the match and cheered us on.”
Skipper Katongo, dedicated his man of the match award to coach Lwandamina and the Football Association of Zambia. The last time Zambia played at the CHAN finals tournament was in the 2009 inaugural championship where the team finished third.