Chipolopolo need winning mentality – Nyirenda

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) announced Wedson Nyirenda as Zambia National Football Team assistant coach and as tentative acting head coach on 13th September, 2016 replacing Zesco United coach George Lwandamina who had been in that role since June 2015.

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group stage qualifiers starting in October and Zesco United still involved in the Caf Champions League, the FAZ moved to find the right man to take over from Lwandamina ahead of the appointment of a permanent head coach.

Nyirenda was unveiled to the media by FAZ Deputy General Secretary Lombe Mbalashi at a press briefing held at Football House on Tuesday.

The coach fondly called Wada Wada by his fans said he was aware of the expectations which came with being Chipolopolo head coach and hoped that his philosophy would help to restore Zambia’s glory after failing to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Setting out his philosophy Nyirenda said: “I took this job because I am one person who loves challenges. I did something when I was at Zesco United which is now a household name in Africa; I did the same when I was at Zanaco and at the club which I recently left in Mozambique. With good cooperation, good work culture and a good understanding between myself, the players and other stakeholders we are going to do a good job. We are looking like we are a weakened team but that’s why people are there. We need to change the players mentality and to change how things are done in the field.

“We must have a winning mentality. I think we are at the lowest level but we need to give our players the confidence that they can do it.

Wada explained that his immediate task was twofold.

“I am coming in to rebuild the team but we have to look at qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the same time. We have to be bold enough to say the truth. We have not been doing very well in the recent past. I think if we look back, our downward slide started immediately we won the Afcon. We haven’t been the same since then. We have been going down in terms of performance . There are a lot of factors which we need to look at.

“My predecessors did their part but we need to do more. It is nobody’s fault that we are were we are today. It is football.”

Sharing his views on Zambia being considered the weakest team in Group E which contains Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria Nyirenda said:” Every other team is the same it depends on how you apply yourself. We were written off in 2012 but we emerged victorious. Look at Zesco United, no one expected them to come out of their group in the Caf Champions League but they have reached the semi-finals. We are in the group of death but if we all work together we are going to pull a surprise.”