Zambia coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic remains defiant that the Chipolopolo are still firmly in the race for a place in the Cameroon 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations.
The 2012 edition champions Zambia lost 1-0 away to Botswana in Francistown on 16 November, conceding their third defeat in four Group H games, winning just one. They trail the pack with three points, one less than Botswana and two behind second placed Zimbabwe with two games remaining. 2019 AFCON champions Algeria have already secured qualification as they top the group with 10 points.
It was a setback for Zambia just five days after they beat Botswana 2-1 in Lusaka to reboot their hopes after losing their first two games, as they battle to return to AFCON finals after missing the last two editions.
"I live by the philosophy of 'When it is bad never say die, and when it is good do not fly over the Moon'," Micho said.
"We shall bounce back and have to believe in that before March 2021. We have a situation with six points available against Algeria at home and Zimbabwe away to give us the lifeline that could take us to Cameroon."
"I will be very unfair to the Zambian people if one set back will make us give up," Chipolopolo coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredokevic after Zambia lost 1-0 to Botswana pic.twitter.com/yRFnZkHN1M— FAZ (@FAZFootball) November 18, 2020
Zambia will resume their survival battle in Mrach when they face Algeria in Lusaka, eyeing a revenge for their 5-0 away defeat in November 2019. Then, they will visit Harare to face Zimbabwe who beat them 2-1 in Lusaka.
Zambia now turn to their January's African Nations Championship (CHAN) Cameroon 2020 mission, where Micho is hoping for success with his domestic based players, and will also use the tournament exclusively designed for local based footballers as a springboard for the decisive Group H qualifying date.
"We have nothing to do but prepare very well for CHAN where the local team should have a very good outing and show they are ready to compete next March and join our best players from abroad, to help Chipolopolo qualifying to the AFCON. We are not retreating or giving up,” Micho concluded.