A close look into FAZ and handling of the Champions

Herve Renard (l) with Kalusha

Herve Renard (l) with Kalusha

By A Correspondent

We are out of the Afcon 2013 and deservedly so. To be the first champions to be booted out in the first round in 21 years, adds salt to the wound. Zambia did have a real chance to progress and do well, based on the possibility of picking up the momentum from the last Afcon, which they won .As embarrassing as this exit may be, it is time to have a good objective self- assessment. It’s like we are back to our traditional ways of going back to the drawing board. In my view needless mistakes were made by both the technical and administrative people. Listed below are some unforgivable blunders FAZ and technical bench made.

1.    Lies, lies, lies on reason for victory

The fairy tale 2012 Afcon win was exactly what it’s been widely described by most pundits, a fairy tale. On any other day no-one would have to be very delusional to believe that our team was able to beat Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast team was star studded and still is. It was a team which could easily make arguably the English premiership best eleven, but we matched them and won on penalties. Just as much as we don’t have to take anything away from our heroes, Kalusha Bwalya and FAZ should not have taken too much credit for it.
It was ridiculous what was said in some of the documentaries on super sport where FAZ  claimed to have  invested in youth football. Heck! Youth football died years back. We haven’t qualified to any under 17, 20 or 23 finals in the last fifteen years. If we had owned up to the fact that our win was deserved just for that moment, our attitude after the Afcon would have been better.

2.    The team is tired and need a rest

Zambia was invited for a good friendly by a good Gabonese side on the first FIFA international friendlies date after Afcon 2012. The decision from FAZ summed up the Zambian work ethic, “the players are tired and need a rest”. Most people wonder why FAZ could not use team B, or how come Ivory Coast played their friendly game when they should have been equally tired.
Despite being champions our friendlies where not as competitive as one would expect. Surprisingly we have seen some of these technical decision pronouncements coming from Eric Mwanza’s mouth, no matter how technical.
This gives an indication of the nosiness of FAZ in the technical bench affairs. Honesty why should Eric Mwanza be assuring the nation how ready the team is, that is the coach’s job period. Secondly let us not forget the never mentioned hero, Bonetti, the guy who qualified us comfortably and is reason behind the quality of our current defense. He did his job so well because his decision were independent of FAZ interference.

3.    Over celebration

Another problem I had with FAZ is how they celebrated the win to the extent of gallivanting with the trophy all over the country. Seriously guys how much of administrative and technical time did we lose in this? Is that why we cancelled the Gabon friendly? So we can claim allowances from the country wide tour? The celebration period was dominated with commercial deals by coach and players, far more than transfer deals by players.
FAZ should have kept their eye on the ball (as they like to say), play friendlies and helped our players concentrate on their careers unlike letting them spending more time in Pepsi and Trade Kings board rooms than on the pitch.

4.    Lack of Continuous improvement

What our team needed after Afcon 2012 was improvement. Herve Renard was the one ahead of everyone in pointing out that Zambia where not favorites at the Afcon 2012, so despites winning it he knew he had some more work to do with the team. Did he do it? Absolutely Not! Seriously what kind of improvement does one attain in playing the same players in all the games? What was Herve Renard’s possession with player he wasn’t even monitoring the performance in their respective league? As far as Herve is concerned the team which played at the Afcon 2012 has been in form from February 2012 to date, which is ridiculous.
Herve has never even attempted to create competition in the team. We all know the challenge player like Fwayo, Singuluma, Kola, Clifford, and many more can give to this team. Let us also not forget our dismal performances against Sudan, Ghana, despite win and many more. The team has not improved period.

5.    Clifford Mulenga

The stance by FAZ and Herve over Clifford Mulenga is not only unfair but shameful. It is very ridiculous anywhere in the world that a foreigner can have guts to doom a career of a local, a Zambian son so publicly and get away with it. Let us not forget how Kalusha Bwalya used to report late to camp like every time, but he played.
Clifford apologized genuinely and most importantly he apologized to the whole nation. How thick a skin should a foreigner have to deny our own Zambian son a second chance? Zambian football belongs to Zambian fans, not Kalu, not Herve, we have the final say. Clifford’s quality is in wing play and scoring. The fact that we came out with only 2 goals, technically one goal,shows how careless and selfish everyone behind the Clifford decision are.

6.    Renard has peaked

Herve is a good coach but to see him have access to such gifted players, with an Afcon 2012 victory behind them only to get eliminated in the first round and blame it on CAF, then FAZ has to go in the market.

7.    Is Kalu the best for Zambian football administration

Kalu’s reign in Zambian football has been marred with controversy. FAZ has occasionally made school boy administrative mistakes and financial deals have been very contentious. It is difficult sometimes to see FAZ beyond being a Fixtures Administration of Zambia.
Where have they lost it? It’s good we have been dethroned may be FAZ can stop the singing and give us their plans for the future of Zambian football. One thing is for sure, Kalu embarrassed this country by endorsing a dictatorial close in the CAF constitution that could potentially put Hayatou as life president of CAF.
Kalu has done great thing for Zambian football but that should not entitle him to every responsibilities even the ones he is not good at. Youth football in Zambia is not in good shape; it was just coated with the Afcon 2012 trophy. Let us have a FAZ which is interested in promoting local football. Camping in South Africa even when you have a local fixture is foolish. Why not invest in local facilities? What exactly in the mission of FAZ if they are actively involved in transfers of players out of Zambia? On principle really it’s not right even though it is inevitable. FAZ is just a bunch of job seekers not conviction to improve football.