Zambia:National team coach Micho salutes CAF's decisions, unveils plan

By Angu Lesley
Football Writer,

Zambia’s CHAN and Senior national selections’ gaffer Milutin Sredojević popular called Micho has qualified CAFs recent decisions on the African Nations Championship [CHAN] and African Cup of Nations [AFCON] as logical.

Speaking in a recent interview with on Wednesday, July 1, Micho backed CAF’s position citing the need to protect human life in every decision from the highest football institution in Africa.

“Under the circumstances that the world is suffering because of the health threats presented by the Corona virus pandemic. It was just logical that the CAF Executive Committee decided to push forward the organization of the CHAN to serve as a test competition for the AFCON,” the erstwhile
Yugoslavia U20 gaffer stated.

Speaking in the wake of a much talked-about CAF executive committee meeting which happened on Tuesday, June 30 with the resolutions to move the April 2020 CHAN competition to January 2021, and the January 2021 AFCON to January 2022 amongst others. Micho highlighted the security of human lives is a strong justification for these decisions. He further explained;

“When one carefully looks at everything, human life is the most important. Under such circumstances CAF has made the most important decision based on common sense and sports medical logic. I believe through the CHAN, we shall be able clearly understand the best way forward,” the gaffer averred.

The ex-Saint George SA gaffer with a fine knowledge of African Football further called on stakeholders to adjust to the current situation and get going.

In the full sense of it, it is difficult to attain normalcy in the foreseeable future. Micho subscribes to the option of being smarter in difficult times.

“I believe the leaders of the game of football on the continent has made the best decision. I will be the happiest person if the situation was normal for football. Having said that, we need to accept the present state of affairs, and rather readjust our plans towards CHAN 2021, AFCON 2022 and the 2022 World Cup. Being proactive while trying to get the best out of our respective teams,” the former Rwanda national team and Orlando Pirates gaffer Micho continued.

He considered as the man to end Zambians 8-year wait for the return of their darling Chipolopolo team to the AFCON stage. Micho completed a similar task with the Uganda Cranes in 2017, and knows the ingredients of ending a long absence in the AFCON. He is leaving no stone unturn. He says work has been ongoing all through the dark clouds of the pandemic.

“So far, we have completed a special individual program with 55 local players which lasted eight weeks. After that, we had an individual program with their respective Clubs. After the government’s decision to end the lockdown, the players have returned to training. Presently, we are planning to do the video analysis goalkeeping and statistics courses,” the one-time Al-Hilal Omdurman and Young Africans SC coach told

The gaffer further revealed his plans vis-à-vis his players return to a competitive rhythm.

“We shall enter into the competitive aspect by July 18 with the Zambian Premier division and the University first division. This will help our players return to competitive form, giving we still have 11 matches. After those matches, players will regain their shape. After that we will open a camp for the CHAN players. The new season will resume in September. Upon resumption, the players have four additional months of competition which will be sandwiched by training camps with friendly matches. After that we are sure to have a competitive team to represent a great football nation, Zambia in the best possible way against the best home-based players during the January 2021 CHAN competition in Cameroon.

Last week, the president of Zambia HE Edgar Lungu decided to lift the three months ban on collective Sports activities. Micho backs the government’s move but cautions humanity to act with caution.

“The pandemic has unsettled all humanity, let alone those of us in football. Under such circumstances, we need to find a formula, though we still need to remain cautious, not to allow the situation to go against us. Events of now needs us to mentally strengthen us, to play an important role when football comes back. By providing the best quality of our services of good football to heal our people’s soul.
Our objectives are still the same; we have six months before the CHAN 2021, we want to be very competitive, and have a great CHAN 2021. We want to qualify for the AFCON 2022, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” the 50-year-old former Sinđelić Belgrade forward concluded in an exclusive exchange with

The Southern African nation has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup and has been out of the AFCON picture since 2012 while their best CHAN results remains a third place finish in the 2009 competition.

Micho has a tough job in tough times, but it is a task good enough for a tough man in charge of two national teams in a country with an undiluted passion for football.

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