WE ARE bleeding with failure in football because of biasness in team selection and lack of talent identification programmes to address deteriorating soccer standards in Zambia, says veteran sports administrator and former soccer commentator Marsha Chilemena.
Commenting on the miserable performance by the Zambia national soccer team at this year’s 16th edition of the COSAFA tournament in Namibia after being bundled out of the competition by minnows Swaziland on Sunday, Chilemena said coaches were partly to blame for the loss.
He said it was a shame that teams like Swaziland could have a field day against Zambia, a country that was considered to be a football house in Southern Africa, adding that as long as the mentality of making positions for players as personal-to-holder, the state of affairs was unlikely to change.
He said poor team selection had always denied Zambians of deserved victories against its opponents as there was no justification in insisting on calling the same old players in the premier league who had continued to falter in tournaments.
“How can you have five players coming from one club in a team yet we have plenty of players across the league even in the local league who are doing extremely well. Most of these players in the premier league have failed us and do not deserve to be in the national team. Grass-root football provides plenty of talent for national team selection but we are insisting on bringing in the same tired legs.
“Team selection must be extensively done. We cannot have a situation where an individual chooses the players. The correct situation should be having coaches from the leagues proposing the players and then the technical bench coming up with the final list. We are bleeding with failure in football because of biasness in team selection,” Chilemena said.
Chilemena also said lack of training programmes for national team coaches by the Ministry of Sports to capacity build them was also hampering the progress of football in Zambia, adding that if nothing would be done, the situation would continue.
“You can’t get good results from a coach who goes for a one-day refresher course and given a certificate of attendance. Football is about investment. The ministry should ensure that coaches are trained properly if we are to start getting good results”.
Zambia were given a humbling lesson on Sunday when Swaziland defied all olds to eliminate the local Chipolopolo via a 4-2 score-line on post-match penalties after Paul Katema and Spencer Sautu failed to convert their spot kicks after a barren draw in regulated time.
This came a few weeks after Chipolopolo’s hopes of the trip to the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon next year ended following a 3-2 defeat by Guinea Bissau.