12 February 2013

Zambia/Nigeria: Nigeria Deserves Cup - Renard

ZAMBIA coach, Herve Renard, has said Nigeria deserved to be crowned Orange 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions because they played well throughout the tournament, better than losing finalists Burkina Faso.

Renard said in an interview on Sunday night that Nigeria played attacking soccer in contrast to Burkina Faso, a team he described as relying more on counterattacks.

He said the Paul Put-coached Burkina Faso, who lost 1-0 to Nigeria courtesy of a Sunday Mba's 40th minute strike in the final played at National Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday, lacked skill and inspiration.

"Nigeria won because they deserved it," said Renard, who now has a daunting task of guiding Zambia to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil after Chipolopolo's embarrassing exit from Orange 2013 Africa Cup

When reminded shortly before kickoff that Burkina Faso outplayed one of the pre-tournament favourites Ghana in the semi-finals, therefore, deserved the title, the Frenchman said the Stallions were only helped by an uneven Mbombela Stadium pitch.

"Sorry! Are you joking or what? They played five games of beach soccer. You will see on a good field. All the players stay behind and wait for counterattacks," he said.

"It's normal, when you are under the other team, you are better on a bad pitch. Ghana were so bad on that field because they are not used to it. Ghana was not good for beach soccer that is all," he added.

Renard said Burkina Faso were also lucky to have escaped with a 0-0 draw against Zambia in a Group C match that saw their leading striker Alain Traore's tournament coming to an end after a thigh injury.

"Just one goal versus Burkina Faso was changing the whole story. They were so lucky versus us. We had 71 per cent of ball possession versus Burkina Faso, they are not a good team," he said.

"Burkina Faso won three games to be in the final and three games in their Africa Cup history. With Zambia in the Africa Cup, I have won six games, drawn five and lost two,"he added.

He said it would have been a disaster had Burkina Faso won the tournament and subsequently advanced to the FIFA 2014 World Cup dress rehearsal, the FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup slated for June in Brazil.

"They have been poor throughout the competition. They can't represent Africa. You are a Zambian you are supposed to love the skill. There is no skill in this Burkina Faso team except Jonathan Pitroipa and Alain Traore," he said.

And Chipolopolo players have this time around failed to make it into the AFCON 11 squad owing to the team's early elimination from the competition.

CAF Best 11: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria), Bakary Koné (Burkina Faso), Nando Maria Neves (Cape Verde), Siaka Tiéné (Ivory Coast) ,Efe Ambrose (Nigeria), Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso), Seydou Keita (Mali), John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses (Nigeria), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) and Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria)

Meanwhile, MultiChoice Zambia public relations manager Marlon Kananda said he was happy that the African Pay television managed to deliver on its promise of beaming live all the 32 AFCON matches on DSTV and GOtv.

Kananda said in Lusaka yesterday that DSTV managed to achieve its goal by giving the viewers an opportunity to watch the spills and thrills that AFCON had to offer adding that a bonus package was introduced during the competition through the Kr 35, 000 reward programme.

"With the AFCON done, as SuperSport we are now looking forward to the local league matches and our aim is to increase live broadcast of the Zambian League. We want to continue giving our subscribers more entertainment and giving them more local content will help them start knowing their future stars," he said.

Kananda predicted an exciting 2013 soccer season saying fans should rally behind the local team by trooping into the stadium in numbers and cheer their teams battle for the Zambian league title.

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