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Blog: A perspective on team selection

Chipolopolo coach Honour Janza is expected to announce the final 23 man list of players that will represent the country at the Equatorial Guinea 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

His team selection has come under heavy scrutiny despite qualifying the Zambia national team to the 2015 tournament especially after he purged veteran players including long saving skipper Christopher Katongo and his failure to call some of the European based performing stars like Rogers Kola.

Against this background, ZamFoot’s Coach Franklyn takes a look at five critical factors which affect team selection to help give a technical perspective from a coach’s view point.


Every coach wants his team to play in a certain way and not just in any way. Just like a baker doing a New Year’s day Cake will need specific ingredients so will a coach in order to play in his specific way. For Example, a team that plays a possession football will most likely need very good passers of the ball with emphasis on excellent movement on and off the ball than players full of athleticism and Robustness. To meet such a profile, a coach will consider from his selection pool players possessing qualities such as vision, ball retention, creativity, decision making and on/off the ball Movement.

Over the years, Zambian football has always been a passing game and the current technical bench has not departed from that. The bulk of those players in camp posses the ability to play in the ‘Zambian Philosophy of ‘Bola Panshi’ and on this basis, this factor has been met.


On many occasions, teams have been known to crumble at ‘hot points’ because of one or two individuals in the group who decides to be ill disciplined either on or off the pitch. There are different personalities in a team and some may not be assertive as others may be in a group and hence no matter how gifted they may be with a ball at their feet, they may easily sway away from doing the right thing for themselves and the team. The ‘bad’ seed in a team causes division and as such breaks the spirit of oneness which is critical in pursuit of victory. Once a team starts having camps and allegiances it’s a recipe enough for failure. Things such as retaliation, decent and lack of level headedness are a result of failure to maintain or just lack of discipline as a whole and they cost teams dearly.

Tactical discipline entails carrying on the relayed instructions to the latter and is very critical if anything is to be achieved. Winning a football match is about great tactical application from individuals and the team as a whole. To be able to carry out instructions needs discipline. Football is not like Netball where the rules of the game itself prevent one from reaching certain quarters of the field, in football Players are free to roam the pitch and as such their movement can only be restricted by the instructions provided by the coach. If the instruction is to seat and suck the pressure and hit on a counter then it has to be as such, no matter how boring it may seem to some players it just has to be done because lapse in concentration or doing otherwise by one individual will undo the entire team’s work. Very costly!

In the last three qualifiers, some good level of both tactical and moral uprightness were exhibited and the results were there to be seen. The team in Camp has most of those that do well in these regards.


Talent alone is not enough. The difference between Good, Great and Best players is the amount of work they put in to up their game and at moments when things need a full application. If a team has five workaholics and six who aren’t as such it’s likely that things will tilt in favor of the six and the result shall most definitely be, failure. A high work ethic should be both for an individual and a team if desirables are to be attained. Failure to implement a high work ethic results in under achievement despite one’s natural abilities. One needs the drive to go forward and go the extra mile and it’s the difference between those in the history books and those who aren’t. A coach needs players who possess an excellent work ethic in order to attain results. I doubt the inability to uphold a high work rate by the 27 in camp.


Just like any other Job, if there exists a rift between manager and subordinates it’s highly unlikely that targets will be met. It’s been proven that Players perform at their best depending on who they play for. Before one thinks of the club or country they walk onto the pitch to represent, they first think of  who has shown confidence and faith to select them out of the many to do battle. May I remind you of a child in college coming from a family with scarce resources, as he sits to study at night before he thinks of the great job he’ll get in future he will think of how his parents toiled to send him to college and that’s the perfect tonic to get the distinction even before the great job in prospect.

If one’s relationship with a coach is bad they may not perform as much as their abilities may enable them to. A coach will find it hard to motivate such a one and most likely whatever the coach says may sound like noise to a player who he isn’t in good standing with. Players who play with the aim of showing ‘I am the man’ usually are erratic as they don’t play for the team but infact against the team. Every coach wants to be respected and given the attention, based on this coaches will go for players that will move ‘in line’ with them as it makes their work easier. How great the relationship is will determine how great the shift is.


The future of a man without a vision is bleak. Any great coach or one aspiring to be a great one doesn’t only think of the present moment but equally the future. How much one Pays attention to the future will matter on the level of expectation for the future. One seeking to win a match will prepare for a day, one seeking to win matches will prepare for days with the right mind and make full use of resources at disposal. During the final of a tournament, a coach may even risk his best player who is carrying a knock but may not do so during a week 2 match of a 30 weeks league.

The expectations weigh heavily on what players to select for a particular assignment. The group selected for camp in preparation for the AfCON tells one what the FA should be expecting in

Equatorial Guinea. From this vantage point, a quarter final appearance may be seen as fine for Chipolopolo because it looks like Janza’s mandate is long term. Most of those Player’s will still be active in 2018 and this will be one of the stages in preparation for Russia 2018. As much as fans want the team to go all the way, the future must be considered otherwise we risk suffering from the same disease that has hit Egypt and previously Cameroon after the passing of a ‘golden generation’.

There are many factors surrounding the conundrum of selection but the above are chief for any coach who sets out to make a selection.

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35 Comments to Blog: A perspective on team selection

  1. Amos Mumba says:

    For all i know,this could be janza writing this!

  2. Watch Over says:

    A lot have been said by brilliant minds here. If we relook at the issue at hand it’s one that is splitting our views. This problem did not start yesterday or after losing to SA on Sunday but started immediately after winning Afcon 2012.

    It was not until we advocated for the inclusion of the young stars in the team after seeing that old guns couldn’t offer more than giving us draws. The new strategy shift worked right for three games and we all applauded Janza here coz it gave us some relief and belief.

    Now that Afcon is fast approaching we want to revert back to the old strategy which gave us stress (want to go back to Pharaoh in Egypt)lol.

    Let’s do this with what we have!

  3. KK11 says:

    Just draft Jacob Mulenga or Kola into the team. The have height and are CURRENTLY THE BEST PERFORMING STRIKERS WE HAVE. We can go on and on bloviating about philosophies e.t.c, truth of the matter is right now we need to score goals. What is Chamanga’s future? @ 36??? Take him out and put Kola in there, if we are really thinking long term.

    • Uncle Bobs says:

      I would only support either Jacob and Kola taking over Chamanga and Mayuka while the kids should remain intact for sustainability’s sake that we,ve been missing and should not be tampered with just for the sake of this one Afcon 2015. Had we won the Afcon 2013, I’d be the loudest calling against the culling of the tired legs that were even on the verge of costing us this very Afcon 2015 we want to route for them based on “Exeprience (10yrs experience may mean 1yrs experience 10 times)”. Even in business today’s leaders can only win not by using their current competitive advantage we’re in a fast changing world!

  4. Duncandinho says:

    You don’t go to a tournament with an aim of building a team for the future, and for all I know building a team isn’t done at senior level but at junior level. If both the under 17 and 20 can qualify for the world cup, then the future of our football will be bright.

  5. Duncandinho says:

    Ghana had to call all their players who were in exile just to tackle the mighty Chipolopolo because they new how important that one particular game was and it worked for them, why can’t we also do the same just for the Afcon in order for us to be able to compete?

  6. Nazo says:

    Every time rebuilding the team,how many teams are we going to build since the Gabon air crush? If not building the team, it is going back to the drawing board.Which drawing board? when have plenty of players both locally and abroad.Not those small boys,if you don’t want chris, Jacob and others.We have people like Yobe brothers,Timothy Mbewe,Richard Kasonde,Moses Phiri e.t.c

  7. gb says:

    what about not changing the winning team philosophy?

  8. Billy says:

    Why is it so difficult to just put Jacob in or and Kola? Jacob at least even scored a goal in Cape Verde in the qualifying games? But why leave him out? This is what is worrying about our coach. Surely you cannot get players like Chamanga, Kangwa, Ngoma, Jackson Mwanza ahead of Jacob and Kola.

  9. P.A says:

    Those that know Coach Franklyn will agree with me that he is one of the best we have in Zambia.Lets give that useless Janza a chance

  10. Seto says:

    Nice outfit

  11. Duncandinho says:

    It’s like we embrace mediocrity a lot, even when we real bullets to take war, we deliberately choose to go with rubber bullets . ChansonI sana.

  12. tc soccerman says:

    Janza is a total tool for not realizing that atleast Kola is needed to fire the frontline. He is playing with fire. Of all the strikers he has right now, only Singuluma and Sate Sate are in better form not that slow Mayuka that has been warming the bench at saints. We also have grandpa potato head Chamanga going against youthful cape verdes defense? wow, but what do we know right? “Wi wiru u c” as legendary Dennis Liwewe would say.RIP Dennis.

  13. KWABENA PISO says:

    First round exit, just like 2013. Dr. Congo and Tunisia will go through.

  14. Discipline says:

    Ati grandpa potato cut,ke ke ke ke ke ke

  15. Scotch says:

    I stil feel it ws better to include Kola in the team,4 nt only that he’s in gd form bt I hvnt heard of any bad relationshp btwn hm and the coach.

  16. Big Steve 4rm SA says:

    Philosophy, philosophical ideologies and all that are important but let’s just keep it basic and be practical about things.
    Your top performers be it in your local league or outside of your local league should be the players that make the cut for big tournaments. Even when looking at the future you pick the top performing youngsters not just any youngster. That being said it makes no sense why Jacob is not in the team. As for Kola, truth be told I have serious doubts he will bring anything above Chamanga and Mayuka to the tournament but going by form he should be there as well.

  17. Naked goal says:

    Actually it won’t be just first round exit but we will also be baptized with heavy and bitter-some goals and in the end we will be laughed at like the super chickens when they failed to qualify, all because of the deaf Janza.

  18. john says:

    Janza is a big f00l. This team selected is one of the most pathetic in history. How can you leave out Jacob and Rodgers kola the most prolific strikers we have in europe and call that useless chamanga. We are also lacking creative cover on the bench from midfield. Who will create chances if kalaba is injured. Clifford mulenga, felix katongo and even fwayo should have been considered to provide some option from the bench. Creative players are the most important.

  19. Anonymous says:

    John, we are called names on this blog for saying the truth. PATHETIC Honor Janza is not very different from useless and stubborn Herve Renard.The team that is currently in camp is very weak to say the least. They luck the experience and pedigree. We will be be eaten alive at the AFCON. We can’t have a bunch of small boys representing us at such an important tournament!

  20. Seen from afar says:

    So by what is reported on Facebook, we have sautu and mukuka mulenga as cover in the middle and this just wont cut it.

    We have no real spark coming off the bench…

  21. Duncandinho says:

    So the team builder has been dropped?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Just like i have been saying. Stubborn and PATHETIC Honour Janza has just done the unthinkable by sticking with a team of small boys. We are DOOMED with this character in charge. We will just go to the AFCON as mere tourists with nothing to show for. We will be booted out in the first round. Congo DR and Tunisia will qualify from our group.

  23. Rogue assassin says:

    1st round exit for these amateurs who play in indian and Chinese leagues

  24. Kay Hummer says:

    Just like i have been saying. Stubborn and PATHETIC Honour Janza has just done the unthinkable by sticking with a team of small boys. We are DOOMED with this character in charge. We will just go to the AFCON as mere tourists with nothing to show for. We will be booted out in the first round. Congo DR and Tunisia will qualify from our group.

  25. Frank Nonde from Gabs says:


  26. derick says:

    We have just given the best team to the amateur

  27. derick says:

    We have enough good coaches in our country but why giving the job to the amateur at the expense of good coaches in our country

  28. Naked goal says:

    Currently we don’t have gud coaches in zambia, only at junior level.

  29. Slu says:

    Zambians all we know is condemning. Lets be realistic!

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