ZAMBIAN President, Michael Chilufya Sata believes Zambia can retain the Africa Cup and he has implored the national team to do just that.
Zambia Daily Mail reports that the number one citizen urged the team to represent the country with determination, passion and pride to overcome all the obstacles they will encounter at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament kicking off on Saturday in South Africa.
Sata said he had never doubted the team’s passion for the game and to fulfill the desire to be champions.
The President said this in a statement released in Lusaka Tuesday by his special assistant for press and public relations, George Chellah.
Sata urged the team to maximise their unlimited potential as they did at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and aim for the ultimate prize.
“I have never doubted your passion for the game, courage to overcome and desire to be champions. I know your determination to win and I believe in your abilities,” he said.
Sata, who is also Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) patron, said as champions, the burden to prove their worthiness is great and of equal proportion should be their ambition to remain champions.
He assured the team that they have full support from him, government and the nation as they compete at the 29th edition of the continental championship.
“That (burden to prove worthiness) should, however, not put you under any pressure but inspire you to greater heights. You should know that you have my full support and that of my Government and all Zambians,” Sata said.
Zambia start the title defence against Ethiopia next Monday, face Nigeria on January 25 and four days later wrap up the group stage matches against Burkina Faso.
Simwanza, who is Football Association of Zambia executive committee member, is confident the Chipolopolo will defend the Africa Cup crown.