Coach of Chipolopolo of Zambia, Wedson Nyirenda
Chipolopolo, of Zambia Coach, Wedson Nyirenda has blamed poor officiating and injuries to key players for his team’s 1-0 loss to the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Uyo, a result which ended their hope of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Speaking after the match in Uyo, Nyirenda said: “First and foremost, I will like to thank the people of Nigeria for your hospitality. Secondly, I will like to on behalf of the national team and the people of Zambia congratulate the Super Eagles for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.”
He said Nigeria deserved to qualify for the World Cup, but “it was not that easy to get. They really fought for it from the first day. The best team got the day because of the difference of one goal.
“We played most of the game on top of Nigeria, but they used their experience to get the much needed goal from a half chance. We had many clear chances but we failed to utilise them and we got punished by conceding a goal”, he added.
He played down the disallowed goal his team scored in their 0-1 loss to Nigeria, saying it should have stood.Mulenga scored what could easily have been the opening goal of the game in the first half, but he was flagged offside by the assistant referee moments before he slipped his effort into the net of Nigeria.
Nigeria went on to win the game thanks to a second half goal from substitute Alex Iwobi, but Nyirenda insisted that Nigeria deserve to win the tie regardless.
“There were many decisions which went the way of the home team (Nigeria), the goal we scored was not offside. I cannot talk about it, the game is over, playing away against the great stars of world football like Mikel Obi and Victor Moses is another motivation to the players to do well.”Nyirenda also picked the various injuries his team suffered in the run up to the game as part of the reasons they lost the game.
“We had so many injuries in the team but despite that, I think we accounted for ourselves very well. We played a great game today, and I dare say this is the best game of all the qualifiers in this series in this group,” he added.