George Lwandamina @ SS com
George Lwandamina @ SS com

Lwandamina says lessons were learnt

Zambia national football team coach George Lwandamina has admitted that lessons were learnt after the team failed to qualify for the 2017 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Lwandamina spoke to at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium after Zambia played out a 1-1 draw with Kenya on Sunday.

Ayub Timbe Masika had given the visitors the lead on 63 minutes but Rainford Kalaba leveled matters in the 86th minute.

“There were so many lessons; it is just that we cannot divulge them. We have to convert training objectives out of what we learnt, be they strong or weak lessons,” Lwandamina said.

Zambia were undefeated in five out of six matches in which they recorded a single win, four draws and a loss but failed to qualify for the final tournament to be hosted in Gabon after finishing third in Group E with 7 points behind Guinea Bissau (10 points) and Congo (9 points). Kenya cropped the group with 5 points.

The Chipolopolo collected three points from home matches following draws with Guinea Bissau (0-0), Congo (1-1) and Kenya (1-1). By comparison Lwandamina’s men collected four points away from home from the 2-1 win over Kenya and the 1-1 draw with Congo. They lost 3-2 away to Guinea Bissau.

Of the seven goals scored by Lwandamina’s men, two were scored at home while five were scored in away matches. The seven goals were shared by Winston Kalengo (3), Collins Mbesuma (2), Christopher Katongo (1) and Rainford Kalaba (1).

Meanwhile, Lwandamina dismissed suggestions that failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations was indication that he did not have players to work with for upcoming fixtures in Group B of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria.

“We have so many players and we have previously cast the net wide. But many are called, few are chosen. This is the international scenario we are talking about. It is totally different from the local league. Some players may shine in the local league but for reasons best known to themselves they tend to be overshadowed when called to the national team. This is down to lack of exposure. Until we start exposing players to the international scenario we will keep facing the same challenge.

“This was also the case with former coach Renard. He called almost 200 players but none of them played for the national team except for Mbola. The rest were players who were built way back, those are the players he used,” he said.

And Lwandamina stated that his role as national team coach was a temporary one adding that he would it would stay that way until the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) appointed a permanent coach.

“I am still Zesco United coach. I am just doing a noble cause because I am not employed by FAZ. I am just being patriotic to mother Zambia. Even if my future with the national team is uncertain and they bring in someone else, we will still give him support. If not, there must be someone to stand in. I will not say I surrender, I am going. I have to work for this country.”