Simukonda: We ll fight a little for our country
Zambia coach Fighton Simukonda feels South African has weaknesses in attack which he hopes will lead to their downfall as the duo square off in the Under-23 8 Nations tournament on Tuesday.
Both Group A rivals lost their opening matches on Saturday, South Africa going down 3-1 to Senegal while the Zambians were edged 2-1 by Tunisia, a match which their coach felt was lost in their heads before their feet.
“Lack of concentration and self-belief caused our defeat,” Simukonda told Cafonline.com when asked where he felt his side lost the game. “We played the first half really well, equalised with the best goal of the tournament so far. In the final third, our boys went off, and failed to capitalize on the mistakes of the Tunisians.
“We also failed to take our chances, and got punished at the end. We give credit to the Tunisians, they deserved their win.”
Both Zambia and South Africa are now desperate for victory to keep their tournament hopes alive, as Simukonda targets the areas in which he hopes his side can capitalise over Owen da Gama’s men.
“We working very hard on our concentration during games, approach to the game and tactics,” he said. “If we want to stay in the competition, we must win against south Africa. We watched them played against Senegal, so we know how they can play.
“I realized some weakness in their final attack. But football can be cruel sometimes, but we are prepared to fight a little for our country.”
With the top three teams in this competition qualifying for the Olympics next year, the Chipolopolo coach feels football on the continent is on the rise, and hopes the sides that qualify will give a good account of themselves at Rio 2016.
“African football is moving forward,” he said. “In the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, we saw two African teams in the final. Football in Africa has improved greatly so you can give credit to our leaders for investing so well in football.
“I hope the teams that will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games will give good account of Africa.”
The clash between Zambia and South Africa is scheduled to kick off at 17:00 Zambia time on Tuesday.
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