Avram Grant's plan of taking Zambia back to the top

Avram Grant's plan of taking Zambia back to the top

After missing three consecutive African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournaments, Zambians are edging closer to the 2023 edition in Ivory Coast next year.

Newly appointed coach, Avram Grant believes that his experience on the African continent will be crucial in this project. 

Grant sat on the bench for the first time for Chipolopolo when they beat Lesotho 3-1 at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola in a Group H qualifier on Thursday. 

Having coached Ghana to the semi-finals of the Afcon in 2015, Grant's main goal is to get Zambia back to the top.

"When I was in Ghana, we did well. We lost in the semi-finals in penalties and now it's a big challenge in Zambia. People love football and I think it's an opportunity for this country to promote football itself because it's a very nice country with very nice people. In football, we have a vision to put Zambia in a better place than it is now. The long-term target is to qualify for the World Cup but the short-term target is to qualify for the Afcon by winning the game today," he said.

Zambia comes up against Lesotho at Dobsonville stadium this afternoon (15:00), and they will be trying to avoid coming from behind like in the first game. 

Grant, a former Chelsea coach says these types of matches are always tricky.

"Very difficult to play even at club level against the same team in three days, especially in the national team. It's not easy for us, it's not easy for them also. I prefer to play against other teams but this is the programme. We will try to do our best to win," he added.

Grant has confirmed that Sekhukhune United midfielder Roderick Kabwe will continue to wear the armband in this game, with team captain Lubambo Musonda out injured. 

The Israeli-born coach believes that Kabwe has earned his place in the national team and is a great player.

"I don't want to speak about players personally, for me they are all my sons. All of them are equal and if he's playing, it means that he deserves to play but all the players in our squad deserve to play. I have no doubt that he's a good player with a good personality and I like him," he concluded.