Chase for Chipolopolo Job Down to Three

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November 17, 2022
The New Favourite?
November 18, 2022

Chase for Chipolopolo Job Down to Three

AFCON Trophy Inflatable

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (November 17th 2022)

The Top Three

The hunt for Zambia’s new boss is down to three – only one foreigner, Avram Grant (see The New Favourite? at, made the cut. The others are both former bosses of the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), Wedson Nyirenda and Honour Janza .

Nyirenda left the Chipolopolo in 2018 after missing out on qualification for Russia’s World Cup (another controversial choice over human rights) to become coach of South African Premier Soccer League team, Baroka, winning the Telkom Knockout trophy (originally known as the Datsun Challenge) in his first season in charge. The minnows beat Orlando Pirates 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. It was Baroka’s first trophy at national level.

The former Nchanga Rangers, Power Dynamos and Kaizer Chiefs striker left South Africa in 2019, becoming coach of Lusaka Dynamos in July 2020. He left the club in 2021 – he was conspicuous by his absence from their bench in the 4-0 drubbing by Zesco United in the Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu Charity Shield in September 2021.

Nyirenda won Zambian league titles with Zesco United and Zanaco and Mozambique’s League title with Clube Ferroviário de Beria as well the ABSA Cup with Lusaka Dynamos. He rejoined Ferroviário in December 2021.

The Merry-go-round

Meanwhile, Janza led Zambia to the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015, but was left extremely disappointed by the announcement from the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) that they would seek a foreign coach, after crashing out of that tournament. It was the last time that Zambia qualified for the AFCON finals. The current coach of Kabwe Warriors, George Lwandamina replaced him three months later – Lwandamina in turn was replaced by Nyirenda, who was succeeded by one of his assistant coaches, Beston Chambeshi.

Belgian coach, Sven Vandenbroeck, took over from Chambeshi but failed to steer Zambia to the 2019 AFCON finals – Zambia’s second consecutive failure. He left on bad terms, labelling the country “not a big footballing country.” Despite that he wanted to return, but his application failed to impress – he was not shortlisted for the top ten (or eleven) candidates.

Vandenbroek was replaced by Green Eagles’ tactician, Aggrey Chiyangi. Serbian coach Milutin Sredojević (Micho) took over. He returned for a second spell in charge of Uganda after FAZ decided to terminate his contract.

Chambeshi returned, but was replaced by his Technical Director, the Croatian, Aljoša Asanović, whose resignation in September caused the current vacancy. The new Head Coach of Zambia will be the 18th since 2010[1].

The Underdog?

One of his assistants, Moses Sichone was given temporary charge of the Chipolopolo. He led Zambia against Mali in September and tonight against Israel, losing 4-2. Sichone’s three matches in charge to date produced a 0-0 draw and a 1-0 loss to Mali and tonight’s 4-2 defeat.

The field of 100 applicants was whittled down to eleven and now three. Former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr did not make the final three – slightly odd as he was a late inclusion after the ten had been announced.

Gernot Rohr

Janza seemed the underdog, but he has experience of an AFCON Finals and knowledge of Zambian football – Nyirenda knows it too.

Both Nyirenda and Janza were briefly in charge of the Copper Bullets together in 2010, taking over from Hervé Renard after the Frenchman left to coach Angola. Lwandamina took over from them before the Italian Dario Bonetti was appointed. Bonetti was replaced by Renard in 2011.

Janza holds both UEFA and CAF coaching licences. He has been Head Coach of eSwatini’s Mbabane Swallows and in Zambia he became CEO of NAPSA Stars just days after leaving eSwatini’s finest. He was also coach of Red Arrows.

In December 2021 Janza was appointed coach of Tanzanian club, Namungo FC. He has combined that role with interim coach of Tanzania since August 2022. He celebrated by winning Tanzania’s Premier League Coach of the Month Award for September  

[1] That includes Renard’s first spell 2008-10 and Janza and Nyirenda’s joint tenure counts as one.

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