By MICHAEL MIYOBA
GRANT should be maintained as Chipolopolo coach because he has assembled a promising squad capable of qualifying for the World Cup, Zambia Sports Fans Association patron Peter Makembo has said.
Grant has received a lot of backlash from some soccer fans who believe that the coach was to blame for the Chipolopolo’s poor showing at the ongoing Africa Cup in Ivory Coast where Zambia was eliminated at Group Stage level after picking only two points from three games.
The Chipolopolo finished third in Group F after two consecutive draws against Congo DR and Tanzania and a defeat to Morocco in the final match.
Makembo said Grant had achieved what many coaches including local coaches failed to do which was to return Zambia to the Africa Cup since 2015.
The fans strongman said players are also to blame for Zambia’s poor showing at the AFCON as they failed to play according to the expectations of many Zambians who believed in them.
“There is no need to panic. As a country we need to learn from our mistakes. Grant came in when the qualifiers had already started but with his help we managed to qualify as the winners of the Group which consisted of Ivory Coast who had beaten us in the first game of the AFCON qualifiers,” Makembo said.
“For me the coach is just okay. He has assembled a good squad which has potential to achieve great things and I want to believe that the AFCON gave him a chance to know and understand some players better,” he said.
Makembo said releasing the coach would have a negative impact on the Chipolopolo squad which has gone through a lot of rebuilding in the last seven years.
Meanwhile, Makembo has urged the Chipolopolo to take their early exit from the AFCON as a driving force to succeed during the World Cup qualifiers scheduled to resume in June.
Zambia will face Morocco and Tanzania in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers scheduled for June 3 and June 10, 2024.
Makembo said meeting both Morocco and Tanzania at the Africa Cup in Ivory Coast had given Zambia an insight of how to approach the world cup qualifiers against the two Group E rivals.