FAM president Walter Nyamilandu and injury-plagued Flames captain Peter Mponda have bemoaned champions Zambia’s failure to defend the Africa Cup of Nations.
Zambia crashed out of the continental showpiece after a goalless draw with Burkina Faso, who progressed to the quarter-finals.
“We would have loved Zambia to defend the title because they are our brothers considering that they are our neighbours,” said Nyamilandu.
“In fact, we only sent our best wishes to Zambia through my colleague Kalusha Bwalya. It is a pity that they failed to qualify to the quarter-finals and that they will not have a chance to defend the title.”
He attributed Chipolopolo’s crash to their failure to consistently rebuild the team after they won the tournament last year.
Mponda noted that Zambia lost the plot in their opening match against Ethiopia.
“It is unfortunate to be commenting on Zambia’s failure to defend the cup when we did not even qualify, but suffice to say, in our absence, we looked up to them as our brothers.
“Zambia deserved no more than what they got as they failed to produce anything like the form that took them to the title last year.
“They just couldn’t raise their game right from the word go. Against Ethiopia, they were just an ordinary team and it was obvious that from then on, it was going to be a tall order for them,” said Mponda.
It is the first time reigning champions have gone out in the group stage since Algeria in 1990.