A CHAN Postmortem Inevitable
Dear football family, it is yet another week and an opportunity for us to touch base on the beautiful game. This week could not have started on a more depressing note than the exit of our Chipolopolo from the African Nations Championship (CHAN) at the quarterfinal stage. We had hoped that the team was going to go beyond the semi-finals after having started promisingly. It was also going to be a perfect reward for the level of preparations that were invested in getting the team ready for the tournament. Our team arrived in Cameroon on December 31, 2020 as part of preparations for the tournament that kicked off on January 16, 2021. As an executive committee, we sent the team to Cameroon to participate in a Four Nations Pre-Chan tournament that included teams that qualified for the main tournament. The participants were hosts Cameroon, Niger and Uganda with our team emerging second after drawing 3-3 with Niger and losing 2-0 to Uganda before concluding with a 2-0 victory over Cameroon. An extra friendly against Libya was added to the list to comprehensively prepare the team.
The team did well to qualify from the group stages with a 2-0 win over Tanzania before drawing two subsequent matches against Guinea and Namibia.
A semi-final pairing with Morocco ended with a 3-1 loss and our initial reaction is that the team could have done better. However, it would be too early to delve into that matter as a post-mortem will be done. Understandably we must move very quickly as there are Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers looming next month against Algeria and Zimbabwe. We will not tire in trying to reboot our Chipolopolo through continuous investment in grassroots and youth football.
In closing, I would like to urge our Olympic bound senior women national team to utilize the invitation to the Eight Nation Tournament in Turkey. Zambia will join Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Uzbekistan in their group in a tournament that runs from February 15-24 in Antalya. After having already sent the team to Chile in December last year, we have continued to give the ladies the best possible preparations.
Have a productive week and remember to keep safe!