New Zambia coach Aljosa Asanovic says there is no reason why his side cannot qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast … or even the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
Croatian Asanovic has recently taken over the side and will lead them in friendly games this month, starting with a trip for locally-based players to Iraq on Friday, before they tackle Guinea and maybe one other team in France.
Chipolopolo did not qualify for the 2021 Cup of Nations, a wake-up call for the side, but Asanovic is adamant that they will be in Ivory Coast.
“We have the target to go to the CHAN [African Nations Championship], and I have the target to prepare the team for the COSAFA Cup. I have many targets, but the first one is to qualify the team for the next Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast,” Asanovic told The COSAFA Show.
“This is an obligation for myself and my players to the Zambian people. We have 18-million people who have an expectation that we will be at Afcon.”
He says he is aware of what needs to change within the team, and says raising the level of performance and being more consistent in games is the place to start.
“I know how I need to make my team the best [it can be],” he said. “I have a very good team, but what I want to try to change is the discipline in the game. The mentality of the players.
“The game is 90 minutes, and the whole time the performance must be on the same level. The discipline in the game and the quality of each player. This is what I am thinking all the time.
“If you are disciplined in training, that will translate into discipline in the game.”
We also speak to Lesotho Football Association secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi about the appointment of Veselin Jelusic as that country’s new coach ahead of their 2023 Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles starting next week.