A SOMBRE wave swept through Zambia last night after the Chipolopolo were knocked out of the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Ghana.
Zambians failed to come to terms with the 2-1 loss to Ghana as a dark cloud covered the nation.
Anxious Chipolopolo soccer fans, who had packed themselves in several pubs in the capital Lusaka, Ndola and other towns, watched on television in awe as the Black Stars won in Kumasi to end the 2012 African champions' dream of a maiden World Cup appearance.
As reality was slowly dawning that Zambia's hopes were again in ruins for the umpteenth time, some fans started trooping out of the pubs and seemingly heading home.
By 20:30 hours in Ndola, most pubs were empty while in other areas a few die-hard fans hanged around drowning their sorrows.
In Lusaka, the loss was greeted with mixed feelings as some fans blamed the Chipolopolo defeat on the chaotic travel arrangements while others praised the team for fighting so hard but let down by several wasted opportunities.
Lusungu Banda said Zambia was undone by its failure to convert several chances that came its way, picking out Emmanuel Mayuka's two wasted chances in the second half in front of goal.
Banda said it was from chances like those Mayuka missed that teams capitalise to score.
"Maybe we missed Jacob Mulenga upfront but we played well, I have never seen Ghana so subdued but I liked the way that (Kondwani) Mtonga played.. We have a team and its sad we are out but it was a race we should have won. Sad its all gone and now we shd look to 2018," she said.
Dickson Chabala was full of praise for the team but said Zambia showed hunger for a win.
But in pouring 'sour grapes' on the tie, Chabala said Ghana did not look like a team that could really impress on the road to Brazil.
"Ghana may make it to the World Cup but the quality is not there. Zambia lacked in depth as some substitutions just watered down the team spirit but overall, we have to accept that we were beaten technically," he said.
Geoffrey Chipepa said it was clearly not Zambia's day as chances were created but goals were not flowing.
"It was not just our day but we shall live to fight another day. Team is okay and coach is okay too, no need to change because ww are making progress. We messed up in Lesotho and all we have been doing after that has been damage control bur let's look forward with optimism," he said.
Yesterday's match was preceded by a series of accusations by Zambia of Ghanaian gamesmanship, including delaying their arrival by refusing landing rights for their charter plane and then denying them the chance to train at the venue on the eve of the game.