ALJOSA PICKS POSITIVES FROM IRAQ DEFEAT FOR LOCAL PLAYERS
Chipolopolo coach Aljosa Asanovic says his players gave 100% despite losing 3-1 to Iraq in a packed 33, 000 Al Madina International Stadium in Baghdad.
Speaking in a post-match interview, Asanovic said the experience was new for some young players that debuted on the big stage in a friendly match.
“After the result of 3-1, no one is happy especially me and my players. What I said after the game, I told my players that they have given 100%. They did their best, but we conceded a goal in 10 minutes which is a penalty which does not exist but anyway it is not an excuse,” he said.
“You know after that we conceded another goal through a set piece. From that we scored a goal to make it 2-1 and we went to second half. We changed the formation a bit and introduced new players, we controlled the game, but we were not dangerous.”
Asanovic said he will continue refining the boys with twin targets of developing a strong local squad and the main team that should be a force to reckon with.
He said that the bustling Al Madina Stadium may have overwhelmed some of the players that were making their debut.
“Some of the players it was the first time to see the ground with 40, 000 people. We are working hard; we know what we want. The energy I saw today was very good,” he said.
“This is a school for my boys we need more games, we need to find more opponents.”
Many players debuted in the match against Iraq among them Chaiwa, Bulaya, Joshua Mutale, Patrick Gondwe and Harrison Chisala.
Asanovic thanked the Iraq Football Association and the citizenry for the warm reception.
The Croat will now shift attention to the two international friendly matches lined up during the FIFA window.
Zambia suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of a full-strength Iraq side that opened the score in the 10th minute from the penalty spot by Dzgham Ismail. Thirteen minutes later Iraq doubled the lead through Ahmed Ibrahim.
Zambia pulled one back in the 31st minute after Saad Natiq turned in an Albert Kangwanda set piece. In the second half with Zambia gunning for an equaliser, Iraq finished off the game Hussein Gadban in the 77th minute.