Former Chelsea and West Ham manager Avram Grant has been named the new coach of Zambia's national team. The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) announced on Thursday that a two-year contract had been reached with the Israeli.
Grant has prior managerial experience in Africa. He led Ghana to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final, where they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties. He resigned two years later after finishing fourth in the same tournament.
Grant also coached Israel's national soccer team from 2002 to 2006 but failed to qualify for both the 2004 UEFA European Championships and the 2006 World Cup. He coached four teams in Israel: twice with Maccabi Haifa and twice with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He hasn't coached a team since 2018, when he worked with India's North East United.
The Israeli tactician took over as Chelsea's head coach in the 2007–2008 English Premier League season, guiding the side to the European Champions League final, where they lost to Manchester United in a penalty shootout. Grant has also worked with the Serbian team Partizan Belgrade as well as the English teams Portsmouth and West Ham United.
The 67-year-old takes over from Moses Sichone, a former Zambian international who had been serving as interim manager since the departure of Aljosa Asanovic in September. It is anticipated that Sichone will stay on as an assistant coach. Moses Sichone has won awards as a manager in his native country as well as in England and Serbia.
During his press conference in Lusaka, Grant stated that "I was looking for the proper challenge, and that's why I chose Zambia, and I believe the country has a huge potential for the future."
"I came here for a new challenge, and when I leave here, I hope to be able to look back and say that we did a good job and laid a good foundation for the future," he added.
Internal sources have stated that there were about 100 applicants for the job, some of whom had previously managed the national team. The selecting committee was composed of representatives from the local association, coaches from Zambia, and government officials.
The Future of Chipolopolo
Grant will be responsible for turning around the fortunes of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions. The Chipolopolo finished third in their qualifying group for the 2022 World Cup and were also unable to qualify for this year's Africa Cup of Nations, hosted in Cameroon early this year.
Zambia’s future is promising, with a number of bright young players such as Fashion Sakala of Rangers and Patson Daka of Leicester City, who both won the Under-20 Nations Cup in 2017 and advanced to the U20 World Cup quarterfinals the same year.
Grant's first game in charge will be a March qualifier against Lesotho at home for the 2023 Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
Avram Grant Controversy
Grant was accused of sexually harassing several women in a story that circulated online in January of this year. A woman complained about him in February. FIFA stated that it would look into the claims after the report.
Grant allegedly made sexual remarks to several women while they were coworkers, making it challenging for them to continue their professional connections with him. He did not refute the allegations in reaction to the Channel 12 story, but he did claim that any harm he may have done was unintended.