SKIPPER Rainford Kalaba has apologised to the nation following the Chipolopolo first round elimination from the Equatorial Guinea 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.
Kalaba said the Chipolopolo players are disappointed with the outcome of their performance after failing to achieve their 2015 AFCON goal after setting a target of reaching far at the 30th edition of Africa’s biggest football showpiece.
He said this in an interview at Estadio de Ebebiyin after drawing 0-0 with Cape Verde in the final Group B clash.
Kalaba said the Chipolopolo now needed to forget about the disappointment in Equatorial Guinea and focus on future international assignments.
“We are very disappointed as a team. We haven’t achieved our goals. We wanted to go far in this tournament but things have happened the way they have happened. We just have to forget (about this episode) and look forward to other games,” he said.
The TP Mazembe midfielder said Zambians just needed to forgive the team despite letting them down and promised to impress next time.
“They (Zambians) just have to be there for us because this is for the country, we need them as much as they need us. It’s 50-50, they just have to forgive us we let them down, it’s unfortunate but we will work hard and impress in the next games,” Kalaba said.
The DR Congo-based star bemoaned the wasted scoring opportunities which came the team’s way and the heavy downpour which he said disturbed the team’s game plan.
“We created a lot of chances but we didn’t utilise too many chances in this tournament. As you can see we are able to create chances but scoring was a problem for us. We have learnt something from it (AFCON). We just have to go back home and prepare for future assignments,” he said.
Kalaba said the Chipolopolo had learnt some lessons from the 2015 AFCON and would now focus on future duties.
Coach Honour Janza said it was painful that the 2012 AFCON winners failed to qualify to the knock-out stage despite playing well and creating several scoring chances.
Janza, however, said the AFCON experience was good for the upcoming players as the Chipolopolo technical bench was trying to rebuild a strong team for the future.
“There is a lot of hope for the team. We have picked a lot of good things from this tournament which will help us to go forward. We have AFCON qualifiers that are coming in June and in October the World Cup qualifiers. I think based on that we should be able to have the momentum to go forward,” he said.
[times of zambia]