By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - The curtains have finally been closed on the search for the Zambian national soccer team, the Chipolopolo after the football authority settled for unheralded Belgian-born trainer Sven Vandenbroeck.
The 38-year-old Belgian gaffer pegged a US$10,000 per month contract to take over from Wedson Nyirenda, who trekked to the South African premier soccer side Baroka FC.
Joe Kapembwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development, said the new trainer is expected to drill the 2012 African champions ahead of the various engagements, including the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be held in Morocco next year.
Vandenbroeck will be entitled to a US$10,000 per month salary with less taxes, Kapembwa said in a letter of acknowledgment to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) last week.
He holds a EUFA pro licence and has worked with among other teams, Cameroon under Hugo Broos. Other teams are OH Leuven and Niki Volos as an assistant coach and in caretaker managerial capacities between 2014 and 2016.
His footballing career is traced from 2000 to 2010. He played among other European sides, Loy Ham, CS Vise, Lierse SK, Akratitos, De Graafschap. Roda JC and KV Mechelen.
Vandenbroeck’s appointment comes after the football association received 19 applications from various candidates interested in the Chipolopolo top job, with only one local trainer Danny Kabwe having shown interest.
Kabwe (53) is now heading to the MTN premier side, Lusaka Dynamos. He holds a EUFA B certificate obtained from England and is a seasoned soccer trainer and once served as Nyirenda’s assistant at national level.
Nyirenda, the former Kaizer Chiefs player in his letter of resignation tendered on May 24, cited “many personal problems”, as part of the reasons for his decision to leave. He, however, hailed President Edgar Lungu and supporters for helping him succeed in executing his duties since being appointed in September 2016 until May this year when he sought new pastures at Baroka FC.
The other 18 foreign trainers that sought the job included Germany born- Antonie Hey and Dietmar Demuth. Until recently, Hey, a EUFA pro-licence holder, was in charge of the Uganda Cranes.
The 48-year old Hey, who recently parted company with the Cranes of Uganda has a EUFA pro-licence and has had a stint with five other African national teams, including Kenya, Liberia, Gambia and Lesotho and was a technical director in Bahrain and Libya.