Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda has said that his players were “very complacent” in yesterday’s 1-1 draw against Namibia in their final CHAN Morocco 2018 group ‘B’ tie in Casablanca.
The stalemate was however enough for the Chipolopolo to finish top of the group on goal difference and Nyirenda is upbeat that they are “getting somewhere.”
“My players were very complacent and thought it was going to be an easy game. We were shocked in the first half,” the Zambian said.
Zambia, who are seen as the one of the tournament’s favorites, unexpectedly fell behind early in the first half through Absalom Limbondi’s 13th minute deflected header, but Lazarus Kambole restored order in the 24th minute to cool the nerves.
“We came into this tournament with the aim of winning this cup. We may go through some obstacles here and there but that is the name of football. We are getting somewhere,” Nyirenda added.
The Chipolopolo started their campaign with an emphatic 3-1 win against Uganda before beating Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 in the second match to cruise to the quarterfinals with ease.
Namibia on the other hand picked two 1-0 wins against the Ugandans and the Ivorians respectively to reach the round of eight on first attempt.
Zambia will be up against Sudan, while Namibia will face hosts Morocco in the quarterfinals on 28th and 27th January respectively.
“We are going to meet Sudan in Marrakech, it is not going to be an easy game. Every game that we have played has not been easy,” Nyirenda warned.
Menwhile, Namibia coach Ricardo Manetti has revealed that their spirited fight against Zambia was motivated by the desire to stay in the city of Marrakech.
“My players loved Marrakech, the main motivation to win the game tonight was because they wanted to go back to Marrakech.
“They loved the city and staff at the hotel. And I told them to go back to Marrakech they needed to be on top of the group,” Ricardo said.
The runners-up finish will unfortunately keep them in the capital Casablanca for the first quarterfinals fixture on Saturday. But Ricardo is looking forward to playing in front of a huge crowd.
“We are tired of playing in empty stadiums; we deserve playing in the quarterfinals and deserve to play before a full stadium. I am looking forward to playing Morocco on Saturday.