Football

Zambia sack coach ahead tough World Cup qualifiers

Zambia have fired Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic as they prepare for a tough World Cup qualifying programme from September, the national football association confirmed on Sunday.

Zambia have fired Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic as they prepare for a tough World Cup qualifying programme from September, the national football association confirmed on Sunday.

“The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) can confirm that it has reached a mutual separation agreement with its senior men’s national team coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic,” a statement said.

“After a meeting between FAZ and the coach it was agreed that in the interest of progress for both parties they had to separate.”

Zambia have been drawn in the same World Cup group as Tunisia, Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea, who have all qualified for the Cup of Nations next January while Zambia will miss out.

Only group winners qualify for the final elimination phase in the World Cup and Tunisia, who visit Zambia in September, are favourites to advance.

Results under Sredojevic, who coached national teams and clubs in numerous African countries since 2001 and was hired by Zambia in February last year, have been mixed.

The Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Africa Cup of Nations holders Algeria in a 2021 Cup of Nations qualifier, but lost 1-0 to minnows Botswana in the same competition.

Shock winners of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia have failed to build on that success and last qualified for the biennial tournament in 2015.

Whoever succeeds Sredojevic will pin hopes of a revival on young forwards like Patson Daka, who recently signed a five-year contract with English Premier League club Leicester City.

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