Renard – “We are not afraid of any team”
Zambia coach Herve Renard has declared they are ready for any opponent after sealing their place at the semis of the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations.
The Chipolopolos are the first team to reach the last four of the tournament after goals by Sunzu Stoppila, Christopher Katongo and James Chamanga aided them to a 3-0 win over Zambia in their quarter final clash on Saturday in Bata.
Zambia are due to face the winner of the Ghana-Tunisia quarter final clash at the semis and the Frenchman says “we are not afraid of any team.”
In a post-match interview, Renard described the feat as historic being the first time the Chipolopolos were reaching the medal zone since 1996.
“We expected a difficult match, having played Sudan a couple of times in the CECAFA tournament. We started very well but were sluggish in the second half, till a minute of magic by Rainford Kalaba gave birth to a penalty for the second goal.
“Our target was to reach the semi final for the first time since 1996. We learnt a lot in 2010 where we were not efficient. I think we were better this time,” Renard told the media flanked by his assistant Patrice Beaumelle and Davies Phiri.
The Zambian trainer explains that his team has come of age in terms of experience after missing out of the 2004 edition in Tunisia in recent times.
“Zambia only missed out in 2004 in recent times and have an advantage with players who have been together for a long time. We have no big names and the star is the team. Players like Emmanuel Mayuka, Katongo (Christopher) and Kalaba (Rainford) are often underrated because they are not playing in major leagues abroad, but they are very good players.”
With the Sudan hurdle cleared, the ever confident Renard said they are looking forward to playing at the grand finale.
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