IT is unfair to condemn midfielder Chisamba Lungu over his decision to quit the national team, says Damiano Football Academy director Damiano Mutale.
Mutale said instead the blame should be put on the technical bench that even failed to issue an apology for not qualifying to the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
Mutale said Lungu had the right to speak out and make the decision of whether to continue featuring for the national team or not. He was therefore disappointed for football analyst Reuben Kamanga to express disappointment over Lungu’s decision to quit Chipolopolo.
“But look at the technical bench, Lwandamina has not even apologised for failure to qualify the team to Gabon. It is a surprise that a player (Collins Mbesuma) had to say sorry to the nation instead of the coach,” he said.
He said if coach Lwandamina had earlier given a post-mortem of what happened in Guniea Bissau, then it was logical to say Lungu was speaking out of emotion.
“Why are some football experts condemning Lungu for his decision to quit football? He has given out his reasons which I feel are valid. He at least gave us the picture of what happened in Bissua. He said Lungu touched on an important issue of player selection which had raised a lot of dust in the past.
Mutale said it was time FAZ rose to the occasion and tackled this issue to erase the doubt of the credibility in player selection.
“The concerns on the credibility of the player selection process at national team level should be taken seriously. This is one issue that has caused underperformance even in other countries,” he said.
Kamanga said Lungu’ decision to quit the national team on account of not playing after being called to duty was disappointing,” Kamanga said.
Former FIFA referee Naison Nyonyo said it was unacceptable to call an experienced player why to bench him in preference for local players.
He said it was embarrassing that Zambia should concede such goals as was the third goal in the Guinea Bissau vs Zambia game where the players due to lack of experience were ball-watching.
He charged that with the experience of Chisamba Lungu, he would have played his role as a midfielder and prevented the opponents from having a field day against the Chipolopolo.
“He is an international player, an experienced player who must be appreciated, and he has the right to take the action he has taken.
“We should not condemn him, but instead we must talk nicely and plead with him to rescind his decision and come back to the national team because we need his expertise,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zambia National Soccer Fans Association (ZNSFA) patron Musonda Mwaume said the fans will not accept any excuse if Zambia failed to win the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia.
Mwaume said it was embarrassing that Zambia was already pushing for qualification through a boardroom decision.
“In as much as CAF may rule in our favour and qualify for the AfCON, which should not have been the case for a former continental champion. We failed to win at home and cost us the qualification.
“But Lwandamina should ensure Zambia wins the COSAFA title because we are tired of excuses. They should compensate the failure to qualify for AfCON by winning the COSAFA,” he said.
He said the association had managed to secure a bus to ferry fans to the COSAFA tournament if Zambia manages to reach the semi-finals
“We have managed to secure a Marcopolo bus and each fan has to pay K1000. But we will only travel to Namibia if our national team manages to storm the semi-finals,” he said.