…Makembo questions CAF Awards nominations
By MICHAEL MIYOBA
IT is unfair that no Zambian has been nominated in the various categories for the 2023 CAF Awards, Zambia Sports Fans patron Peter Makembo has said.
Makembo said Zambia deserved to be named among the team of the year category after impressing during the AFCON qualifiers in a group which had giants and 2023 AFCON hosts Ivory Coast.
He was reacting to the nominees which were unveiled on Wednesday for the CAF awards scheduled for December 11, 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco,
Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal and Tanzania are the top 10 teams being recognised for the national team of the year award.
Makembo also noted that it was unfortunate that players such as Patson Daka, who had a great experience with the national team and emerged as one of the top scorers during the 2023 AFCON qualifiers was nowhere near the top 30 of the best stars in Africa.
“This year we played our best football as a country and broke the jinx of failing to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations after missing three consecutive AFCON championships,” Makembo said.
“We were in a difficult group where only one team was needed to qualify because Ivory Coast had already qualified for the AFCON as hosts and they were the favourites in our group but we managed to top the group to return to the Africa Cup,” he said.
Makembo said Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant was one of the best coaches of the year after he guided Zambia with no defeat in Group H of the AFCON qualifiers after he replaced Croatian Aljosa Asanovic as Chipolopolo head coach.
Meanwhile, Makembo has encouraged the Chipolopolo boys not to be discouraged by the failure to be included in the various categories for the 2023 CAF Awards.
He noted the need for Zambia to use the snub by CAF to work hard and shine during the World Cup qualifiers and the delayed 2023 AFCON scheduled for January 2024 in Ivory Coast.
“Now we are being deemed as the underdogs and this should work to our advantage going into the crucial World Cup and AFCON which returns in January next year,” Makembo said.
Zambia will face Congo Brazzaville and Niger in the back-to-back World Cup qualifiers slated for November 17 and 21 respectively.