Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Kalusha Bwalya, has made a clarion call to the Chipolopolo to be resolute and raise their game to the highest level of competition and ensure that they etch their names in the history books by ensuring that they enjoy the 27th Africa Cup of Nations.
He made the call after Zambia opened her campaign with a 1-1 draw against Tunisia at the Estadio Tundavala in the southern city of Lubango.
Kalusha, a veteran of six Nations Cup finals and golden boot winner at the 1996 Africa Cup, said the time for reckoning is now, asserting that with the quality of preparations, skills, determination and hard work the team had, anything was possible.
The FAZ communications manager, who is in Lubango with the Chipolopolo, told fazfootball.com that the Kalusha made the call after Herve Renard took the Chipolopolo through their paces on Thursday morning.
The starting squad was given time off after 45 minutes while the rest of the squad continued with the rest of the training.
“What we want the nation to know is that the Chipolopolo is in great shape. After weeks of preparations, the time has come. We drew with Tunisia but we wanted to win. We know that there are no easy games and that football is very unpredictable.
"Those factors taken into account, we remain confident that we can do well in our group and win one of the two quarterfinal places. After that anything is possible. We can even go all the way,” Mwanza said, adding, “at this time we would like to call on every Zambian to rally with the team and give them all the support required.”
“In the build up to the tournament we have had what we believe were deliberate or uninformed opinions and statements issued in the media, including some columns suggesting that the FAZ president only rated Nigeria for the championship. That is regrettable because that is far from the truth. The tournament thus far has shown that football is on the pitch and not in mere opinions.”
“The president gave a statement to a Nigerian journalist who wanted Kalusha’s opinion on Nigeria’s Nations Cup chances after the goalless draw against Zambia in Durban. The Nigerian journalist sought to get the president’s insight into what he thought Nigeria needed to do to win in Angola. He also asked what chances he gave the Nigerian team overall.
"The president responded accordingly -- his statement is on record -- and stated that he thought Nigeria were good and could even lay their hands on the trophy, but only if they did certain things within their team. He never mentioned Zambia in the statement; neither did he make any comparisons between Zambia and Nigeria,” Mwanza said from Lubango, adding, “when the president was asked by SuperSport presenter Thomas Mlambo what he thought Zambia’s chances were of winning the championship, he had made it clear that he fancied the Chipolopolo to go all the way. The presenter went further to answer the question for Kalusha, knowing that he was going to mention Zambia. Interestingly, not one media reported that Kalusha tipped Zambia to win the Nations Cup; neither did they quote him giving the same statement to other European media.”
At this time we need to take pride in our team’s competition at this championship. President Rupiah Banda, in addressing the team at the Luanda international airport, called on the nation to support the boys and believe in their ability.
“The team is capable and ready to take on any opposition. We’ve played Tunisia, next is Cameroon then Gabon and after that we will see what happens. We need to keep our eyes on the ball and take pride in our boys. There won’t be any easy games but with great ability, hard work and determination, we can do it,” Mwanza said.