Zambian football in a good space after years in doldrums


Zambia are the COSAFA 2023 Champions

from NJABULO MKHIZE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – ZAMBIA is to roll the red carpet out to its triumphant senior men’s football team after it retained its status as the kings of Southern Africa.

The crowning of the side as the winners of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup at the weekend continues a turnaround of the country’s fortunes in a sport that is akin to a religion in Zambia.

Wisdom Moyela Libamba, born nine months after a fine generation of Zambian players that perished in an air crash in 1993, headed in late for a 1-0 victory over a gallant Lesotho at the King Goodwill Zwelithini in Durban on Sunday.

The win over The Crocodiles ensured Chipolopolo (The Copper Bullets) retained the trophy and are now the most successful side in the COSAFA, with seven wins, one more than their southern neighbour Zimbabwe, who were absent from the tournament as they were serving a global ban that has recently been lifted.

“Champions,” the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) exclaimed.

“It’s coming home ladies and gentlemen,” the football mother body continued.

Zambia has won the regional competition in 1997, 1998, 2006, 2013, 2019, 2022 and 2023.

“We have successfully defended the title,” the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) said in celebration.

President Haikande Hichilema was more emphatic.

“Done and dusted. Seven time champions. We are Zambia,” the nation’s seventh head of state said.

The Under-20 and Under-17 sides are also the COSAFA defending champions.

After years of disappointment, marked by an absence from the Africa Cup of Nations since 2015, Zambia is in a good space lately.

The men, continental champions in 2013, will make a comeback in the tournament in Ivory Coast next year.

The senior women’s team is preparing for the ninth Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand from Thursday until August 20.

The Copper Queens recently beat two-time winners Germany 3-2 to boost their confidence ahead of the global tournament after years in doldrums

– CAJ News

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