Avram Grant: Zambia appoint former Chelsea and Ghana coach as Asanovic's successor

Avram Grant.Getty Images.
  • The Israeli succeeds Asanovic
  • FAZ says Grant appointment signals new dawn
  • Grant hopes to build good foundation for Zambia

WHAT HAPPENED? The former Blues and West Ham United manager has been appointed to fill the position that was left vacant when Aljosa Asanovic and FAZ parted ways in September.

Asanovic was in charge of the Zambian national team for eight months before he terminated his contract.

Since Asanovic left, Moses Sichone has been acting as the head coach for the Cosafa nation.

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Grant, 67, managed to beat Hossam Albadry, Roberto Blanchi, Goran Stankovic, Antoine Hey, Peter Butler, Sebastian Migne, Gert Engels, Wedson Nyirenda, and Honour Janza, who had been shortlisted for the position.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: FAZ President Andrew Kamanga welcomed the appointment of Grant, hoping it is a new beginning for Zambia.

"Today’s occasion signals a new beginning for our game. Mr. Grant is a well-known figure in world football. He was previously the national team coach for Ghana and Israel," said the FA chief.

"At club level, he has coached Maccabi Tel Aviv, Chelsea, Portsmouth, and West Ham, among others," Kamanga said. 

"I wish to thank all of you who participated in the transparent process of picking the coach."

On his part, Grant – who is expected to steer the country to the next Africa Cup of Nations finals to be held in January 2024 in Ivory Coast – explained why he chose the Chipolopolo job.

"Am very happy to be here. This is my first time in Zambia. It is a lovely country. I think Zambia has the potential, we have set the targets of what we want to achieve," he stated. 

"I was looking for the right challenge, and that’s why I chose Zambia. I came here because of the challenge, and I hope when I leave here I will look around and say we did a good job and made a good foundation for the future."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Grant faces high expectations as he takes over the Chipolopolo hot seat.

With his massive experience gathered from his stints at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Haifa, Portsmouth, and Partizan Belgrade, hopes are high that Grant can guide Zambia back to their glory days.

The Zambia appointment gives the Israeli tactician a return ticket to African football, as he was in charge of Ghana between 2014 and 2017.

Apart from guiding the Black Stars to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Equatorial Guinea in 2015, Grant steered the West Africans to the semi-finals of the 2017 tournament, where Ghana lost to eventual winners Cameroon.

Should Zambia qualify for the Ivory Coast finals, it will be regarded as an achievement, as the 2012 champions have failed to make it into the last three editions.

WHAT NEXT FOR GRANT? He will be in charge when Zambia resume their Afcon qualifying campaign in March 2023. They will face Lesotho home and away as they attempt to consolidate their position in Afcon Qualifying Group H.