11 July 2017

Zambia: Cosafa Stumble Not Entirely Down to Nyirenda

opinion

Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda must feel like the loneliest man on planet earth today. Nyirenda has taken some stick from every imaginable angle with almost everyone yearning to see the back of his head. There has been no opportunity for the three time league winning coach to give his side of the story.

Few have cared to give the context of his misery as his crime has been missing out on winning the Cosafa Castle Cup. No one has cared to scrutinize the makeshift squad that Nyirenda carried for the tournament. It did not matter that with a makeshift squad Nyirenda fought all the way to the final even when few gave his team a chance. Most fans were all too happy to poke fun at the national team at every opportunity and deridingly referred to them as Northern Rhodesia. It did not matter that they lost to a better looking and efficient Zimbabwe side.

Zimbabwe were in fine form at this year's tournament scoring goals for fun and looked very much a well prepared team. What happened to giving credit to a more credible opponent? Did the fact that a ruthlessly efficient Germany tore five-time world champions Brazil 7-1 on their home turf ever make the Brazilians any less of a football powerhouse than they already were?

Nyirenda undertook the Cosafa assignment with fans already expecting his side to take the first flight back after the first match. He had to make do without the bulk of local players that have been most competitive in Zanaco and Zesco United who had continental engagements. But everyone is still drunk with the success of the U-20 that they expect everything else around the Zambian game to turn into gold.

Nyirenda has only been in the job less than one year and for Pete's sake allow him to work. Does anyone not care to think that Zambia was last in the Cosafa Castle Cup final in 2013? Should it not matter that Nyirenda came and gave some new faces a chance in national colours at the Cosafa Castle Cup? People are so eager to blabber about the need for an expatriate coach to replace Nyirenda, but how can people forget so easily how the story of an expatriate coach ended when government announced that the country could not afford a foreign coach.

Sadly to our people they seem so ready for anything expatriate at the helm of their team or put in a much cruder way anything of a different colour shade would do (no racist slur intended). If expatriate is the deal, then why is there a disaster cooking at Zesco United? Does anyone care to check with Wada under what conditions he has to deliver to the country's expectations?

Please before you crucify Wada take a chill pill and let the man work. Very easy to stand on an anthill and cast stones at the coach but in truth our beloved country cannot dream of being great in football again before it can get to work. So leave Wada to work.

Zambia

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