columnBy Elias Chipepo
IT is good to be back after a long absence and I would like to thank my colleague, Jack Mwewa who kept the nation posted on many issues; what a better time to make a comeback, what with a lot that is happening in the sports fraternity.
From the Chipolopolo winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon to bring smiles on the millions of Zambians to last weekend's dismal performance that left many wondering if qualification to defend the title in South Africa next year would be achieved in Kampala.
A lot was expected from the champions especially playing at home but the Herve Renard side could only manage a narrow 1-0 win over the Cranes of Uganda, who are now bubbling with confidence of upsetting tables in Kampala.
On the other hand, the 1-0 win could just prove to be a vital first leg result as the Chipolopolo travel to Uganda following Renard's declaration that his aim is to get qualification in Kampala and go on to defend the title. A draw or defeat could have been fatal for Zambia.
The fact is that the Chipolopolo stars put up a dismal show at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium that leaves a lot of work to be done if we are to go to South Africa and prove that the 2012 AFCON victory was no fluke.
Whatever happened to the players, no one would know better than the players themselves because even the coach was left fuming following the performance that saw the many fans that trooped to the stadium leaving in low spirits.
With Renard maintaining the same squad for the return leg, the onus would be on the players to raise their game and avoid an embarrassing exit from the 2013 AFCON, as it has happened to the best in the business-Egypt.
It is my hope that Renard's wish would be granted for the team to use a chartered flight into Kampala to avoid the complications faced before the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Sudan that saw Zambia lose 2-0.
Uganda have a good record at home but that as FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza said, does not bother Renard because he believes the Chipolopolo are heading to South Africa.
Apart from the puzzle involved in seeking the 2013 AFCON qualification, the country and the southern Africa region is waiting to see whether Zambia would be able to put up the facilities to stage the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games in December.
While works have started at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) where the Olympic size swimming pool would be put up and also at the National Sports Development Centre (NASDEC), we are still waiting to see when actual works would start at the University of Zambia which would be used as the Games Village.
Congratulations to rally driver Mohammed Essa who won the 2012 FIA African Rally Challenge, a sign of how motorsport has continued to develop even after the likes of former African champions Satwant Singh and Muna Singh, who have since retired.
While a few positives have been recorded, there is need for other associations to wake up and emulate the Chipolopolo and Essa who have brought honour to the nation so that they could attract sponsorship and not always crying foul against the Government when they have nothing to show for their demands.