Uphill battle for Chipolopolo

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ia by mitia on 6/20/13


I COULD feel the many thoughts that engulfed soccer fans that filled the 40,000 Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola last weekend following the Chipolopolo’s 1-all draw against Sudan in the race for a final qualifying spot in the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
The atmosphere was so dead that one could feel a coin drop to the ground as fans were pondering whether Lesotho had the capacity to force a draw or indeed beat Ghana. The answer, as expected, came on Sunday afternoon.
As it stands, the Chipolopolo needs nothing but a win to progress to the final round of qualifiers before sealing a place in Brazil.
But for that to happen, the players will need to have a winning mentality and killer instinct in front of the goal, otherwise it will be the same old story of being too near yet so far.
I was encouraged by one ardent soccer fan, Charles Kasia, who immediately after the final whistle rang me and asked if I was going to Ghana.
Charles told me that he had already started planning for the trip to Kumasi even before knowing the outcome of the Lesotho versus Ghana clash.
To him, the situation would still be the same.
Whether Ghana lost, won even drew against Lesotho, Zambia would still have needed to go and win away in Kumasi, so it’s still Chipolopolo all the way for him.
Such is the commitment that soccer fans should have but it must be complemented by a good result by the Chipolopolo, a result that should see people like Charles compensated for the money he is using to fly and cheer the team.
Do these players even conduct postmortems after a match to see where things went wrong? Doing that might help unlike rushing into their posh cars without showing remorse whatsoever.
I liked what Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya wrote on his social network page-facebook: “What is it that is the game changer? Is the once in a lifetime opportunity to go to a World Cup not enough of an incentive?
I would’ve given anything to be in their (players’) places on Saturday…..two decades too late, I suppose.
What is it that takes you that milli-second further…that one goal that could turn you from an African team to a global phenomenon?”
That said, a lot about the passion Kalusha has of going to the World Cup, sadly enough he was not able to do so during his prime but one could sense his frustration at the wasted opportunity by the lads in the qualifying process.
Coach Herve Renard has ample time to prepare for that crunch match as he will have players playing in the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) and Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers later in July.
The team should seriously reflect on the mistakes made during the Sudan match and see how best we can overcome a Ghana side that is on fire and now favourite to advance to the next round, unless the Chipolopolo can prove wrong.
September 8 is not very far away. We need to seriously prepare as Ghana cannot wait to record a win over a team that has punished them so much since the 1980s.
So let’s just do our part unlike, with due respect, always relying so much on divine intervention.
Till next week, 

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