Katongo backs local coach for Zambia

Zambia captain Christopher Katongo is opposed to plans to recruit a foreign coach for the rest of the Nations Cup qualifiers.

Zambia captain Christopher Katongo is opposed to plans to recruit a foreign coach for the rest of the Nations Cup qualifiers.

Local coach Patrick Phiri has been in charge on a temporary basis since former international Kalusha Bwalya quit his post last year.

Zambia are third in Group 11 and must win their remaining matches against Congo, Chad and South Africa to qualify for the Nations Cup in Ghana next year.

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has now appointed a six-member committee headed by Bwalya to look for an expatriate coach.

But Katongo, who plays for Danish side Brondby, says Phiri should be left to guide the Chipolopolo in the last three qualifiers.

"My job is to play football and I will accept whoever is appointed to coach the team whether local or foreign coach," Katongo told BBC Sport. "It is too late for a new coach to take over for the remaining three games.

"But if it is for the 2010 Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers, he can come and work with our local coaches. I insist that Phiri must finish what he started."

Katongo added that FAZ should concentrate on organising friendly matches for the team ahead of their remaining qualifiers.

"I think they should rather be talking about big friendly games ahead of the crucial matches we have to play in the qualifiers," he noted.

Nigerian Stephen Keshi, who recently returned to Togo for his second stint as the coach of the Hawks, is still regarded by FAZ as a possible candidate to coach Zambia.

Brazilian Edson Silva, former Hungary coach Bertalan Bicskei and Englishman James Duffy are also being considered. - BBC

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