By MICHAEL MIYOBA
ZAMBIA national soccer team coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has asked Chipolopolo fans calling for his sacking after Zambia’s poor start at the Cosafa to be patient as he uses the tournament to try and experiment before the crucial World Cup qualifiers scheduled for September.
“Micho” said he understands the frustration of the fans who are acting with emotions. He was speaking after the Chipolopolo kept their hopes alive of defending the COSAFA Cup after beating Botswana 2-1 in a Group A fixture played yesterday at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
“Micho” said the team was just unfortunate to lose the first two games after giving their best performances.
Meanwhile, striker Justine Shonga was the hero of the day after scoring a brace which redeemed Zambia’s hopes of defending the Cosafa title.
Justin Shonga took advantage of Botswana’s lapse in the 21st minute to give Zambia the lead. Shonga’s goal proved to be the only goal in the first stanza which produced an average performance from both teams.
Zambia came back strong in the second half before they were stunned by Thatayaone Kgamanyane who shielded Zambia’s Rodrick Kabwe off the ball before unleashing a long range shot which goal keeper Gregory Sanjase failed to handle as it slipped into the back of the net.
With seven minutes before the final whistle, Super Sport United striker, Gampani Lungu won a penalty for Zambia after he was fouled inside the 18-yard box as Shonga stepped up to complete his brace which gave Zambia its first win to move to fourth position in group A with three points.
The win cheered the embattled “Micho” who still believes that the Chipolopolo can march on to the next round of the competition despite being fourth in group A with one game remaining.
“Micho” said the victory over Botswana has motivated the players as they prepare to face host South Africa who dominate group A with nine points.
Zambia and South Africa will renew their rivalry when the two sides face off in the final group A fixture at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.