Zambia coach Avram Grant believes it was a missed opportunity after his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanzania in their Group F clash at the Africa Cup of Nations that leaves them with much work to do to earn a knockout place.
Zambia now have two points from their two games and will likely need, at the very least, a draw against powerhouse Morocco in their final pool game on Wednesday, though that may not be enough to advance.
Simon Msuva put Tanzania ahead on 11 minutes and despite several chances, it took until the 88th minute for Zambia to draw level through Patson Daka. Chipolopolo were not helped by a red card for Rodrick Kabwe just before halftime.
“It’s a disappointing result. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy match after watching Tanzania’s match against Morocco. It’s true that we started well too but we conceded a goal quickly and that changed our tactics, especially after the red card,” Grant said.
“It’s difficult to play with ten players. But I’m happy with the boys’ reaction. They gave everything to come back.”
Morocco, World Cup semifinalists in Qatar in 2022, will present a huge challenge for Grant’s men.
“We already know that Morocco is a big team but we are not afraid of them. We will play them and I hope we will put up a good performance. We will have to show character,” he said.
“That’s what we try to do every day, get better. And on all levels. Since I have been coaching this team, we have progressed in several areas but we must continue. Even when you become champion, you have to continue to improve the team.”
Daka praised his side’s ability to stick to their task, even with 10 men, and get something from the game.
“I want to salute the team’s performance. I think it’s a deserved point. We would have liked to have more but we will be content with that and look forward to the last game,” Daka said.
“This (playing with 10 men) is nothing new for us. Even in training, we often play against a larger team than the other. This is precisely to prepare us for these cases. I am happy with the mentality displayed by the team.
“My goal has always been to help the team, whether through goals or assists. But it’s not easy every day to score goals. I am happy today.”