NATIONAL soccer team coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina has apologised for Zambia’s embarrassing performance at the Senegal 2015 Under-23 Africa Nations tournament in Dakar.
Zambia’s Rio 2016 Olympics dream was shattered after the junior Chipolopolo lost all the three group matches – 2-1 to Tunisia, 3-2 against South Africa and to Senegal 1-0.
Speaking upon arrival from Senegal on Monday at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport with the Under-23 team, Lwandamina said they were equally disappointed with the performance and apologised.
“The only thing I can do is to apologise for this failure. But I am sure that we will be able to pick from these pieces and try not to embarrass not only Government but the Zambian populace.
‘‘We are equally disappointed, but we need to put it behind. Failure is not the end of everything, It can be the beginning of better things,” he said.
He said the team went with a wrong attitude to the tournament, hence the reason for the poor performance.
Meanwhile, Lwandamina said he still has a month to prepare a team for the CHAN championship which kicks off on January 16 and ensure that Zambia does not face another embarrassment.
“The attitude we took to the Senegal tournament was not good enough to compete at the tournament. We need to make amends at the CHAN tournament in Rwanda. I still have time to prepare a good team,” he said.
He said not all players from the Under-23 team will be picked for the CHAN tournament.
“Maybe three or five players will be in the CHAN team. So I cannot assess Zambia’s performance at the forthcoming tournament based on the Under-23. I still have other good players who never went to Senegal to pick from,” he said.
Lwandamina was part of the Under-23 technical bench which included coach Fighton Simukonda and assistant Tenant Chilumba.
Zambia now shifts attention to the Rwanda CHAN tournament slated for January 16 to February 7.
The Chipolopolo are in Group D alongside neighbours Zimbabwe, Uganda and Mali.