9 months after AFCON victory: does Zambia have what it takes to be champion again

NINE months after the AFCON victory, Zambia has moved 2 steps upwards and 1 step on the international scene to occupy position number 6 in Africa and 31 in the world respectively according to current FIFA rankings. This fair achievement came as a result of the February 12 victory that saw the Chipolopolo Boys rising against all odds to humiliate the famed Ivory Coast side.

There have been mixed feelings on the Chipolopolo standard of play as most people think that the team is not doing its best NINE months after the AFCON victory, Zambia has moved 2 steps upwards and 1 step on the international scene to occupy position number 6 in Africa and 31 in the world respectively according to current FIFA rankings.

This fair achievement came as a result of the February 12 victory that saw the Chipolopolo Boys rising against all odds to humiliate the famed Ivory Coast side.

While congratulations might be in order for the team achieving its feat, there is an urgent call for the Chipolopolo to improve tremendously if the brilliance of the 2012 AFCON editions is to be maintained.

To many, less has changed in terms of standard of play and it seems Zambia’s remarkable and life changing story ended with them becoming the 2012 AFCON champions. The current performance of the National Soccer team is simply pathetic and most Zambians now doubt if the team still has the blend of skills to again hold Africa’s ranked best team, Ivory Coast.

Speaking in an interview with the Lusaka Star, soccer analyst Nickson Banda said that the Chipolopolo are not playing like champions and that the technical team should do something about it.

“The current play by Zambia does not befit the champions and the coaching staff should see to it that the team improves ahead of the 2013 challenge” he said.

As they kick-started the final national AFCON campaign for 2013, Zambia’s performance against the Cranes of Uganda left much to be desired as it was not convincing enough. There is urgent need for Coach Herve Renard to have a broader selection of players ahead of the 2013 AFCON.

The Chipolopolo Manager must instead turn to the untried young talent already playing like Fwayo Tembo, Clifford Mulenga and many others if the Chipolopolo boys are to defend the trophy in 2013.

Most soccer fans expect to see a revolutionized soccer team that is ranked first in Africa and holding a respectable position on the international scene. A national team  that has most of its top players probably signed with the English Premier League sides but it is a different scenario altogether.

Zambians should note that despite their feat during the 2012 AFCON edition, FIFA rankings consider a number of requirements, for instance sporting infrastructure and the caliber of professional players, for a particular team to be elevated.

Nonetheless when all the arguments are put to bed, Zambia needs sufficient sporting infrastructure that will see scores of various sporting activities thriving. On infrastructure, the reality is not as impressive as South Africa and other Arab countries

However, the best is yet to come for Zambia’s FIFA rankings with the neared completion of a 5009 seat capacity stadium in Lusaka that is expected to be opened early next year.

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