Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says the current generation of Zambian players have an opportunity to either be remembered as a group that was highly capable but achieved nothing or be able to rewrite history by turning around the fortunes of the team.
And Micho says Zambian players playing in foreign countries have to know that they have to be twice as good with locals to excel in their clubs.
During a media briefing at Football House, Micho said Zambian players had the ability to rebound to the Africa Cup of Nations despite missing out on two occasions if they worked hard.
Micho laid out his strategy for the Chipolopolo’s Cameroon 2022 Africa Cup of Nations that resumes in November with back-to-back fixtures against Botswana.
He also spelt out the roadmap for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and the CHAN 2021.
“Are you going to be remembered as a people that are capable and able but have not achieved anything, or you are going to write your own history and put Zambia back on football map of Africa Cup of Nations and going to the FIFA World Cup?,” he said.
“Question is for all of us, answers will come because we need to keep our deeds and our work where our mouth is. We could talk days but practical action is in front of us and I stand available to all of you for any questions that you are putting in front of me.”
Micho said the Chipolopolo would play two international friendly matches in October in the United Arab Emirates and also use the 2020 COSAFA Championship, if it can be played due to COVID-19 restrictions, to refine the team ahead of international engagement.
“We need to prepare ourselves for the COSAFA tournament where we are defending champions and where we shall probably use the CHAN local based team in order to give them the best local platform for the January CHAN in Cameroon and also be together (to) build a strong team that will not just participate in CHAN but also go all the way towards being proper contenders of that competition,” said Micho.
The COSAFA Cup could still be staged this year if COVID-19 conditions in the Southern African region allow.
Micho said that his technical bench would sweep through the country where they scout for under-23 players that will be pitted against the CHAN team.
“We shall have visitation to the provinces where we shall build capacities of technical staff and secondly; we shall make an Under-23 squad of young players from the provinces that will make the provincial teams which will later play against our CHAN team so that we can recognize and see whether there are players we have missed on the local level,” he said.
Micho waxed lyrical about the strides made in Europe by Enock Mwepu, Patson Daka (both Red Bull Salzburg), Emmanuel Banda and Edward Chilufya (IF Djurgardens).
“We need to spice up our national team with the players that are playing in highly competitive leagues to combine with local players to have an extremely competitive team that will turn the talent and quality into performances and results,” he added.
The Serb will kick-start the training sessions for the newly formed Zambia Under-15 national soccer team to prepare them for the international tournament set for Croatia.
Zambia returns to AFCON duty in November with back-to-back fixtures against Botswana before winding up in March with matches against Algeria and Zimbabwe.
Source: Football Association of Zambia