Soccer fans in Zambia rue missed chances in Africa Cup openerSouce:Xinhua Publish By Dustin Updated 23/01/2013 8:44 am in Sport / no comments
LUSAKA, Jan. 22 — Soccer fans in Zambia have expressed disappointment over the national soccer team’s 1-1 draw against Ethiopia in the first game at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations tournament in South Africa.
On Monday, the African champions began the defense of the title they won last year with a lackluster performance in which the Ethiopians played a much more coordinated game despite playing one man down after their first choice goalkeeper was given the red card for a foul on Zambian midfielder Chisamba Lungu.
Striker Collins Mbesuma gave the African champion the lead in the final minutes of the first half but the Ethiopians fought on and managed to equalize in the 64th minute when Adane Girma scored after outpacing Zambian defenders.
Soccer fans, who were clad in the country’s colors throughout the day and were in a celebrating mood, were disappointed after their team failed to get a convincing win over their opponents despite having a numerical advantage in the Group C opener.
A somber mood characterized Lusaka, the Zambian capital after the final whistle, as soccer fans walked back to their homes unlike the celebrating mood and honking of horns that characterize the city when the team win.
“I am very disappointed with the performance of the team against a small team. We did not play like champions and I wonder if we will even defend the title,” Musonda Mwenya, a Lusaka-based soccer fan lamented.
James Mumba, another soccer fan, wondered why coach Herve Renard continued to use certain players whom he feels have gone passed their playing days.
“He should stop playing names but should consider players based on merit. Some of the players were just passengers,” he added.
Similar sentiments were expressed by a number of other soccer fans who have since called on the team to improve their performance in the game against Nigeria on Friday.
But the coach Renard has assured that soccer fans that it is not yet over for the team despite the one-all draw, according to local media.
While expressing disappointment over the team’s failure to get a win in the opening match, the Frenchman said he took full responsibility for the team’s poor showing.
All the teams in Group C now have one point each after Nigeria were also held to a 1-1 draw by Burkina Faso.