2012 Africa Cup winning captain Christopher Katongo was last night disappointed with the Zambia u23 performance in a 3-1 loss to Nigeria at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Katongo claimed some players were better as teenagers at U20 level but are no longer suitable for U23 selection.
“Some of our players were better when they were teenagers and seem to have gone backwards, especially in midfield. We had no confidence in our midfield and were just trying to kick long balls for our strikers,” he said.
Katongo further complained of the unnecessary foul Biston Banda committed in a dangerous position which led to a free-kick which Nigeria scored from while goal-keeper Mangani Banda failed to make any attempt to stop it but just watched the ball cross the line.
“Biston Banda’s tackle that resulted in the Nigeria’s second goal was at best amateurish. We have a big problem in Zambia with lack of technique and this results in in us trying recover from elementary mistakes. Banda should never have gone to ground in such a position. Having committed himself he then fouls the opponent to stop a shot from being taken,” Katongo said.
Mangani was again at the centre of error in the last minute when he left his box to try to clear the ball but was beaten for the Nigerians to just pass the ball into an empty net.
Zambia will play Ivory Coast in the last Group B match on Thursday.
Jotham Kangele Mambwe @Zambian Soccer Magazine