A few days before the international friendly match against Malawi, national team coach Honour Janza was asked why he had gone out of his way to bring on board foreign based players among them the quartet of Rainford Kalaba, Given Singuluma, Nathan Sinkala and Kabaso Chongo when it was just a low grade friendly. Others may argued it was worthless.
The question was not taken very kindly with surly team manager Lusekelo Kamwambi chipping in to castigate journalists for being too negative. Janza said the match was an opportunity to have a look at how he could blend the team ahead of the Africa Cup qualifier against Guinea Bissau in June.
Fast forward Zambia beat Malawi 2-0 in that match, which was also presented as a preparation match for the Cosafa Castle Cup that the Chipolopolo were promising to defend.
When journalists pitched at the team training ground ahead of the Cosafa Castle Cup at Heroes Stadium they were greeted with the spectacle of a limping Bronson Chama doing side training with the medical team furiously fighting to put him on the plane to South Africa to make the trip. At least they did offer an explanation albeit ridiculous.
As a winning captain of the 2013 edition they were hoping he makes the 2015 edition no matter the circumstances.
Nothing against Chama whose work ethic and legendary loyalty to coaches is admirable but had his football star been as bright as we are made to believe, he may have long been part of national teams of yesteryears.
For those that watch local football they may have noticed how much of last season he spent in the treatment room and just as we are getting warmed up in the 2015 season he is already in the treatment room. So why not look up to more future looking and perhaps more reasonable options? We could even carry the debate further by looking at some of the names that made the team.
It is unavoidable to discuss personalities at this stage when you look at inclusions like Kennedy Mudenda, a fantastic footballer by our local standards but if you have been long enough in these ends the brother man, like a few others, have been given a chance one too many times as far back as the failed CHAN project of 2010.
I will refrain from naming Jackson Mwanza (prolific in his club jersey for many seasons) and the much travelled Jimmy Ndhlovu who may have conclusively ended the debate on his national team credentials.
We will never understand, maybe others do what Kennedy Mweene, Singuluma, Emmanuel Mbola, Davies Nkausu and Nathan Sinkala were doing at the Cosafa? Does anyone know what our objective was going into the Cosafa? Not that it matters to the authorities but it would have been more dignified to lose with a more futuristic and youthful side.
Naturally there is confusion in terms of strategy as during the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup, we were told that long serving skipper Christopher Katongo, Jacob Mulenga, Isaac Chansa and James Chamanga were weeded out the team was headed toward roping in youth.
For a moment the illusion held as we saw Charles Zulu, Lubambo Musonda, Ronald Kampamba, Patrick Ngoma, Mukuka Mulenga, Evans Kangwa among
others getting a look in but once we came short at the Africa Cup that project was abandoned taking us back to the scattered approach.
We trod into the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup without clarity of direction and in two weeks time we welcome Guinea Bissau and if we don’t get out act right, we may just witness a repeat of the mini riot outside Heroes Stadium when the Zambia Under-23 was booted out of the All Africa Games race by Nigeria.
Maybe it will be unfair to question the tactical nuance of the contract-less Janza just yet but with him coming short at the Africa Cup and now the Cosafa Castle Cup it will be very difficult for anyone to root for him. Can we trust him to carry the team through the qualifiers or anybody else without a contract to undertake this mammoth task?
I just hope those whispers about some players laid on his lap by some ‘bigger’ forces in the game are not true.
But maybe for a man working on charitable grounds it is a miracle we are still getting through these fixtures or maybe we may need a FIFA Goal Project to pay national coaches. No, maybe FA presidents would be better! God bless the beautiful game.