Thursday Nov 18, 2021. 17:00
2012 AFCON winner Noah Chivuta says it is time to swallow our pride and show some humility and admit that Chipolopolo just wasn’t ready for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Chipolopolo finished third in Group B after losing three, winning two and drawing one match to finish six points behind pool winners Tunisia who beat Zambia 2-0 away in Ndola and 3-1 home in Rades.
“Let them set up a one-year or two-year plan and say this is what we want to achieve and then go step-by-step because this jump-starting way of doing things and thinking we can do this or that isn’t taking us anywhere ,” Chivuta told AF.
“If is organizing friendlies it is OK, if it is to go to COSAFA that’s OK too, but make a year or two plan and say this is where we want to be, these are the players we want to prepare in that period who will be the surprise players to fuse into the main team.
“We just need to swallow our pride and come down to earth and admit that this is the level that we are at right now.”
Chivuta said Zambia’s 3-1 away loss to Tunisia in their final Group B game on November 16, that came after the euphoria of the 4-0 victory over bottom place Mauritania on November 13 in Lusaka, was a wakeup call.
He added that it showed Zambia where it stood in the gap between the top and bottom tier in terms of African football.
“How can you start dreaming with the team that we have right now about going to the World Cup and having hopes after winning 4-0 and we start calculating that if this one loses then we have hope of going to the World Cup?” Chivuta said.
“We should just accept that for now that we must continue gaining experience and maybe something will come out of it.”
Chivuta added that this phase was not a new phenomenon after his generation reached the 2010 AFCON quarterfinals and later won it in 2012.
“It is like that phase we went through until 2010 when we reached the AFCON quarterfinals in Angola after earlier reaching the 1994 final and 1996 semifinals,” Chivuta said.
“In 2010 we reached the quarterfinals for the first time in 14 hours and there was nothing like ‘can we play this one or that one’ because every player was ready.
“People applauded us because of the effort and commitment we put in and there was no finger pointing.
“But if we keep lying to ourselves that we are good and saying, ‘we just need this, and we need that’, then we won’t progress.
“Even if you brought the best coach in the world to come and take over our national team he won’t win anything, he won’t win the AFCON or take us to the World Cup at this moment but he must be given long-term guidelines.”