Posted On Wednesday, 24th April 2013
Zambia FA president Kalusha Bwalya says the lack of talent in the country is the major contributory factor to the free fall of the Chipolopolo since they won the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kalusha says there is no strong competition for national team places since they won the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations leading to the falling fortunes of Chipolopolo.
Ghana’s 2014 World Cup qualifying opponents have been dwindling since 2012 with some shocking results in at the 2013 Afri9ca Cu[p of Nations in South Africa earlier this year.
They bombed out of the tournament in South Africa in the first round before minnows Lesotho held them to 1-1 draw in a World Cup qualifier in March.
This led the country’s sports minister describing the Chipolopolo as ‘RUBBISH’.
Kalusha said the current crop of Chipolopolo players had been around for too long and needed to face competition from budding stars.
“We have seen players who have played four Africa Nations Cup and so definitely there has to a challenge as a player,” Kalusha said in an interview at the start of the final selection leg for CHAN and COSAFA teams.
“This team we are building here can be there for another 15 years. The boys here need to step up and make a claim for positions in the senior Chipolopolo.”
He said Chipolopolo’s performance could only improve with increased competition for national team places.
“This is football and competition needs to be there,” he said.
“The moment we have other players knocking on the door, it will make our team work extra hard. There has to be competition to players that played in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.”
And Kalusha urged local players seeking places in the CHAN and COSAFA during the three-day national assessment and selection trials to claim places in the Chipolopolo.
Kalusha said the nationwide selection programme would be repeated over the next five years to provide competition to the current Chipolopolo team.
“We have had that crop of players for the last 10 years, so it is important that we come up with another set of players especially locally-based ones that will help us in the next ten to fifteen years,” said Kalusha.
Over 160 players have formed 10 teams competing for places in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) and Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) national teams.
The Lusaka selections are being held at Sunset Stadium and Barclays Sports Complex.
Zambia will face Botswana in a CHAN 2014 qualifier and 2013 Cosafa Cup first leg qualifier in June.