18 January 2013

Zambia: Good Luck Chipolopolo!

THE 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off tomorrow in South Africa with focus on the Chipolopolo, who are aiming to defend the trophy won during the 2012 AFCON finals in Libreville, Gabon.

What a great victory it was over Ivory Coast as Zambia won her first AFCON title but the squad now faces the challenge of defending the cup against 15 other countries seeking to dethrone the Chipolopolo as African Kings.

As Republican President Michael Sata put it in his goodwill message to the team, the Chipolopolo should aim at conquering the continent again and bring back the trophy home.

In exactly three days, the African champions get down to business against Ethiopia as all eyes will be on the Chipolopolo, who will be aiming to emulate fallen Egypt in defending the AFCON title.

Confident fans and the doubting 'Thomases' will be either at Mbombela Stadium or in front of their television screens cheering.

Cheering their lungs out for the Chipolopolo to do the nation proud and will obviously heed President Sata's advice of maximising their unlimited potential, just as they showed during the 2012 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, and target the continent's top football accolade again.

A lot has been said about the team's performance during the warm-up matches and I am sure the answers will start getting answered on Monday night. For now, I can only wish the team all the best as they embark on yet another difficult but achievable feat.

Here are some reactions to last week's 'Oh! You people of little faith' column.

Given Chama wrote: "For me I see no problem with the team as the players looked more geared and the preparations have even been better than what we had prior to the last AFCON edition.

Look at the performance of the team before the last Africa Cup kicked off; they did not do well as compared to now. For me the boys are geared and ready to perform. Besides that, when you play a friendly game and you lose, you will learn one or two things.

Look at South Africa's performance during the preparations prior to the 2010 World Cup finals. They played big teams like Brazil, Spain, Uruguay and many more and they performed very well but look at what happened when the actual tournament started. They were eliminated in the first round so our team, Elias, is ok."

Another email came from the Copperbelt Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) chairperson Joseph Mulenga. He said the fans on the Copperbelt believe that the team can retain the AFCON title despite the draw against Norway.

"The team is complete and the players are eager to retain the cup considering the way they played. Collins Mbesuma and Jacob Mulenga really impressed us as fans and we just want to wish the entire national soccer team a success at the AFCON tournament."

A fan only identified as Chisenga wants to express his feelings on Emmanuel Mayuka's bench warming at English Premiership side, Southampton.

He wrote: Dear Mr Chipepo, Isn't Mayuka just wasting his time at Southampton? Belonging to a "small" club like Southampton is bad enough and being almost always an unused sub at a small club is worse.

He was better off at Young Boys, wasn't he? Isn't he just wasting his time at Southampton? At Young Boys he saw a lot of action and was very sharp but now he is just getting "finished". I hope Southampton keep losing until they start using Mayuka regularly."

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