Kalaba calls for early preps for 2015 AFCON and the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals

Rianford Kalaba
Rianford Kalaba

MIDFIELD maestro, Rainford Kalaba has called for early preparations for the Morocco 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals and the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals to be staged by Russia.
Kalaba says he was deeply hurt by Zambia’s failure to qualify for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup finals after going down 2-1 to Ghana in the Group D decider played in Kumasi last Friday.
Kalaba said in an interview that it was every player’s dream to play at the highest level which is the World Cup and that missing out on such a competition hurt him.
The player, who turns out for Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) side TP Mazembe, however,  said not all was lost as Zambia still had a good crop of players that could still make up by qualifying for the 2015 AFCON finals which should set the tone for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals.
“It really hurts to miss out on playing at the World Cup as a player because we had a good chance before we lost to Ghana. But not all is lost because we have a good team which should continue fighting until we get our World Cup qualification,” he said.
Kalaba urged other Chipolopolo players to remain focused on the upcoming challenges and that the defeat suffered at the hands of the Black Stars should make the team even stronger.
“I feel we did our best, but, unfortunately, we missed out on qualification. The defeat should make us stronger as we shift our attention to qualifying for the Africa Cup, then the World Cup. We need to continue soldiering on and we can still achieve good results,” Kalaba said.
Zambia needed a win over Ghana to secure a spot in the last qualifying round where the winners of the two-legged fixtures automatically qualifies for the World Cup finals to be hosted by Brazil in June next year.
And KALUMIANA KALUMIANA writes that Gift Kampamba says it is time to move on and forget about the dashed dreams of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
In an interview in Kitwe, the ex-Zambia midfielder said the team was unfortunate to lose against a motivated Ghana side.
“The chapter has passed and we have to turn to the next page,” Kampamba said.
“We played well but you see the pressure was on Ghana to win this game at home to qualify and they did just that.”
And Kampamba said two players stood out for him last Friday against Ghana in Kumasi.
“Chisamba Lungu and Nathan Sinkala played very, very well,” Kampamba said.
“Apart from the goal he scored, Sinkala was very effective covering in front of the defenders, while I believe Chisamba should have been given a more offensive role.”
Kampamba added that Zambia’s priority now should be on the Morocco 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that kick off next July.
“The qualifiers for the Africa Cup start next year and now let’s fully focus on that,” he said.
“If we do well in the Morocco qualifier then we can start talking about the 2018 World Cup.”
The next World Cup will be held in 2018 in Russia.