Road to Qatar 2022 Begins Now
Easter felicitations to the football family and everyone else that loves the beautiful game. Easter is a period to seek renewal in the Christian faith.
In my faith at the United Church of Zambia where I am privileged to serve as Boys’ Brigade National patron, we take this occasion as an opportunity to joyfully celebrate our risen Lord. Even in football, we can use this occasion to seek renewal and reflect on the direction of our beautiful game.
The Chipolopolo boys concluded the Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 2-0 win over Zimbabwe despite missing out on qualification to the Cameroon 2021 tournament. Looking back on that journey, we are comforted by the fact that we have a clear picture of what we need to do to ensure that we kick-off the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification on a strong footing. With the World Cup qualifiers coming up in June with clashes against Mauritania and Tunisia, we must get down to work and ensure that the team is ready for the two assignments. Our group comprises Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania.
Thankfully, we will start this campaign with a substantive coach which has been a missing ingredient in the previous campaigns that we have had previously. We believe coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has settled in his hot seat and will have enough time to scout for players that may not have been previously included in his plan.
We are open to looking at players plying their trade in foreign leagues that have Zambian heritage. However, these players must be competitive and willing to don Zambian colours. In opening this window, we are not in any way imputing that we will be looking for Sunday League players in foreign countries. Our league remains strong and continues to provide the competitive players for our national teams. This call will purely depend on the recommendation of the coach and his technical bench. Overall, we believe, we have a team the core of a team that can help our country mount a formidable challenge in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Our Copper Queens are also back at work for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that kick-off in August. The Copper Queens remain our pride with their historic Olympic Games qualification that came after the 1988 fairly tale story. As part of preparations for the Olympic Games, we have secured two international friendly matches for the team. The Copper Queens will play South Africa and Kenya away and at home, respectively. An international camp is also on the cards although we remain mindful of the Covid-19 limitations. We shall continue to liaise with the technical bench on the best possible ways of preparing the team.
I sign off with a call to all the football forces to rally behind our teams. It is only through continuous support that our boys and girls will ably represent Mother Zambia in all competitions.
Have a fruitful week and always remember to keep safe!