Cosafa Cup: Zambia felt the 'bitter side of football' in Lesotho opener - Sredojevic

Milutin Micho of Zambia.FAZ.

Zambia head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has stated his side felt bitter after going down 2-1 to Lesotho in the Cosafa Cup opener at Isaac Wolfson Stadium on Thursday.

Chipolopolo, the defending champions, surrendered the lead after they had gone ahead courtesy of Justin Shonga's goal before Motebang Sera's brace ensured Lesotho emerged winners with second-half goals.

The former Orlando Pirates coach blamed his side for not being clinical enough with the chances created.

"Without wishing to be an excuse maker or blame shifter, we have felt the bitter side of football," Micho said in his post-match conference as was quoted by Faz media.

"We gave respect to the opponent but not over-respect, we have self-respected ourselves, we imposed ourselves very well, opened the game very well in the first half, it was supposed to be more than one goal.

"We created clear-cut chances that we did not convert, there were crucial moments in the game, instead of putting the game beyond the opponents’ reach, we conceded that goal."

"In moments of domination, in moments when we have been totally in control of the game and against the run of play, we conceded that goal that put us in a position that we needed to go back to the drawing board and analyse the second half and prepare very well for the game against Eswatini that is supposed to help us to bounce back."

Eswatini bounced back against Chipolopolo after they lost their opener against Lesotho and head coach Leslie Notsi lauded his players for their show against the defending champions.

"We are happy, we are satisfied actually, with the way the boys accounted themselves. We knew that it was going to be tough looking at the track record of Zambia, the quality they have in the team, but I believe our plan worked well," Notsi said.

"The boys accounted themselves very well in terms of addressing the matters that we talked about."

Zambia will play Eswatini on July 10 before facing their southern neighbours Botswana three days later and both matches will be hosted at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium. On July 14, Chipolopolo will be up against South Africa at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.