Interview: Africa Cup of Nations 2015

Tunisia match crunch time for Zambia coach Janza

Zambia take on South Africa at CAN
Zambia take on South Africa at CAN AFP PHOTO / GORDON HARNOLS

Zambia ’s second Group B game against Tunisia in Ebebiyin could prove pivotal in the fortunes of coach Honour Janza. He’s less than six months into his tenure and a poor result will complicate his team’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals. It might also prove fatal to his chances of maintaining his post. 

Advertising

Janza, 48, who had been the technical director at the Zambian FA, replaced Patrice Beaumelle in August after he decided to join former Zambia coach Hervé Renard at Côte d’Ivoire.

Click here for our coverage of Africa Cup of Nations 2015

"It is a huge challenge but we believe Janza has the credentials to excel,” FA boss Kalusha Bwalya said at the time of the appointment.

In Sunday’s opening Group B game, Janza’s side took the lead against Democratic Republic of Congo. Given Singuluma finished smartly with less than two minutes on the clock.

The Crystal Palace striker Yannick Bolasie levelled matters mid way through the second half.

On the eve of the clash with Tunisia, Janza said that he expects a tough game.

His assignment has been made more difficult by the loss of midfielder Nathan Sinkala.

The 24-year-old was injured in the match against DRC and will be out for a month.

“Of course it’s a painful experience for Nathan,” said Janza. “But we came with 23 players and so we have to make do with the other players that we came with. It’s sad that someone like Nathan can be ruled out of the tournament from the first game with an injury. But we’ll have to make amends with what we have.”

Sinkala, who plays in Switzerland with Grasshopper Zurich, was a key part of the Zambia team that won the Cup of Nations title in Libreville three years ago.

“It won’t be easy without him,” Janza reflected. “He’s got lots of experience but we have to go forward without him.

“After drawing their first game against Cape Verde, Tunisia will be looking for three points,” added Janza. “We’ll be looking for three points as well. It will be an interesting match. They want to advance to the quarter-finals and we want to do the same.”

Janza said he had briefed his team about Tunisia’s speed and eagerness to attack.

“They’re a good side,” he added. “They’ve got determination to move the ball quickly. They’re strong and fast.”

But he was also bullish about his own team’s abilities. “We have the strength and we have the young boys that can play, that can go forward. We have the speed.”

Five years watching the charismatic Hervé Renard in action at the helm of Zambia have clearly had an effect.

“We have what is required in modern football,” he added. “We are fast and we have good technique. We have good, skilled players. We have a balanced team. We can take any team.”

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning