By MICHAEL MIYOBA
CHIPOLOPOLO coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic says he has picked lessons from the 3-1 defeat to Senegal during an international friendly match played on Saturday night at Lat Dior Stadium.
Micho’s tactics were exposed by the Taranga Lions who dominated the first half as they assembled its best squad.
After lining up a team with little experience, “Micho” who had five foreign stars in his squad saw the Chipolopolo going down in the 21st minute.
Liverpool striker Sedio Mane scored a penalty won when midfielder Paul Katema committed a foul inside the 18-yard box.
Senegal doubled their lead through former Under-20 star Krepin Diatta who left goal keeper Lameck Siame in shock after slotting home from a close range shot.
Senegal’s third goal came via Ismaila Sarr before Zambia managed a consolation in the 53rd minute through Dominic Chanda who connected a free kick from left back Prosper Chiluya.
“Micho” only has four foreign-based players as part of the squad with Kings Kangwa (Arsenal Tula-Russia), Cyril Chibwe, Salulani Phiri (both Polokwane City-RSA) and Ntanzana Mayembe, the Cardiff City under-18 youngster who made his debut appearance for the Chipolopolo as a super sub.
Speaking after the defeat to Senegal, “Micho” said the game showed him which players to rely on ahead of the World Cup qualifiers starting in September.
“In football anything can happen; you can lose to a top class team but in the same moment you can lose but lose honourably,” said “Micho” in a post-match interview.
“But I believe that both teams have benefitted from this math and thanks to Senegal for teaching us a lesson,” said “Micho.”
“For me, this was a very important selection match where I have seen which players can be in the World Cup qualifiers in September and which players are not capable because the jersey is heavier than their qualities. So we have learnt the lessons from a very good team,” he said.
Meanwhile Wales-based midfielder Mayembe who has played for England and Wales at Under-15 and Under-18 level said the Chipolopolo played well especially in the second half.
“It was an emotional game. I mean to come on, I thought let me just give it my whole to play for the shirt and that’s all I could do. It was an unbelievable feeling and just overcoming my fears.
“Overall we did well in the second half and applied ourselves but in the first half we were not switched on in terms of the way we play our best football,” he said.
After losing to Senegal, the Chipolopolo will play Benin tomorrow before concluding their friendly fixtures with a tie against Sudan on June 11.