> Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - Zambia football authority has dispelled rumours of imminent dismissal of national team coach, Wedson Nyirenda over Chipolopolo’s poor showing at the just-ended African Nations Championship (chan) in Morocco.
Spokesperson for the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), Desmond Katongo, has told The Southern Times that there are no plans to fire the coach but that they will consider sending him for more refresher courses.
The dismissal rumours dominated local media recently, with reports indicating that FAZ was unhappy with Nyirenda over the team’s performance in Morocco and were contemplating terminating his three-year contract.
Zambia exited the CHAN at quarterfinals stage after losing 1-0 to Sudan. Katongo stressed that Nyirenda would remain the head coach of the national soccer side.
“Changes to the technical bench are communicated using official channels,” the FAZ official said, in reference to the unsubstantiated media reports.
Local online football magazine, ZamFoot, last Sunday reported that FAZ executive that included president Andrew Kamanga and general secretary Ponga Liwewe and met last week to decide Nyirenda’s fate and that plans are underway to replace him with a new coach in the coming few days.
Nyirenda, who had predicted that his side would emerge victorious in the tournament, fell short of his predecessor, with his side falling short in the last eight team of the tournament.
Zambia had a good start at the eight-team continental tournament, beating Uganda 3-1 followed by a 2-0 win over Ivory Coast and 1-all draw against Namibia in the final Group B match.
In addition to the disappointment in Morocco, the Chipolopolo were demolished in the Cosafa Cup final last year. And after a poor start in the World Cup qualifiers, Zambia finished second in the group that included Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria.
Nyirenda’s pride was the back to back win over Algeria. His lowest point was when Zambia lost at home to Mozambique at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium last year.
Nonetheless, Nyirenda who took over from George Lwandamina in August 2016, is unperturbed by claims of his sacking, saying the FAZ “can go ahead” and fire him, while declining to comment further.