ZAMBIANS have waited for too long for the national soccer team to qualify to the World Cup series, says the Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZSFA) patron Peter Makembo.
Makembo said the hour had come for the Chipolopolo to make history by making a maiden appearance at the World Cup competition.
The 2018 world cup will be held in Russia. The wolrd cup is the greatest football showpiece and is held every 4 years. Zambia has never qualified to the world cup.
Makembo told the Daily Nation that poor preparations had lowered soccer standards and led to the failure by Zambia to qualify to prestigious tournaments.
He appealed to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to ensure that the team was adequately prepared before playing the two concluding fixtures.
He said the fixtures against Guinea-Bissau and Kenya were a litmus test that will determine the readiness of the Chipolopolo as they presented an opportunity for the team to either break the football jinx or remain in the abyss of under-performers who were mere participants in international assignments. He said Sports Minister Vincent Mwale’s challenge to the team to qualify to the next World Cup should be taken seriously because such an achievement would never come on a silver platter as other teams in the group were leaving nothing to chance in their quest to make the final cut.
He said the Chipolopolo had what it took to qualify with the right attitude from FAZ, the technical bench and the players.
Makembo warned against haphazard and last-minute plans for the team which had always been a stumbling block to their good performance.
“We have been wondering when Zambia will qualify to the World Cup. Of course there has been a lot of optimism year in and year out but that has not been realised.
“This is mainly because of lack of adequate preparations and this is why we are asking FAZ to take the last two games seriously by coming up with decisive measures that will make us win. If we win these games, we will fancy our chances of qualifying.
And Makembo challenged coaches to look beyond Lusaka and the Copperbelt if they wanted to get quality players who could bring the desired results to the country.
“Zambia is not Lusaka and the Copperbelt. This issue of restricting themselves (coaches) to teams in the Premier League in Lusaka and the Copperbelt when looking for players is also killing us, because we end up getting the same players that have continued to disappoint us.
“What has happened to local soccer scouts? Do we really have scouts who are able to go deep in the rural areas to identify the talent that we can nurture and bring in the national team?’’ he asked