Shameful Kitwe fans turned against the Zambia Under-20 after the defending 2017 COSAFA U20 Cup champions and hosts 0-0 draw with Malawi on Friday night in their penultimate Group A match at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
The result left Zambia on the brink of a group stage elimination from the tournament it is hosting in Kitwe from December 6-16 on the Copperbelt.
Given little time and elevated from the Under-17 to the Under-20 job barely a month before the tournament kicked off, Mumamba Numba is feeling the pressure of delivering instant results at Under-20 level after his predecessors won the Cosafa U20 Cup in South Africa last December and U20 AFCON as hosts in March.
Furthermore, Zambia came into the match against Malawi bruised after they were humiliated 2-0 in their opening Group A match at the same venue by Uganda on December 6.
But Zambia were a improved side after the lessons of the Uganda defeat and curtailed an ambitious Malawi throughout the match from playing their fiery football that saw them beat Swaziland 3-2 last Wednesday.
Zambia even had the ball behind the net the in the 47th minute when Francisco Mwepu headed in Edward Chilufya cross.
But the disallowed goal for an offside that never was and did not win Zambia any sympathy from the crowd.
And as the last 20 minutes of the match approached, the Kitwe fans turned their backs on the host side and instead cheered every move Malawi made and booed Zambia when they touched the ball.
Fans even accused Numba of fielding players from his club Zanaco in his team when none were even in the starting XI or even on the bench.
The Kitwe fans also described Zambia as a Lusaka select side when the starting lineup has five players from Copperbelt sides Nkana, Nchanga Rangers, Konkola Blades, Gomes, and Chambishi Metals.
There was also a player each from Nchanga and Chambishi on the bench while Green Buffaloes had two, Red Arrows and Napsa Stars had one each from the other Super Division call-ups.
And not even the presence and contribution of U20 AFCON and 2016 COSAFA U20 Cup winner Edwardc Chilufya went recognised despite carrying the team’s burden throughout.
Meanwhile, Zambia now have a slim chance of making the best runners-up slots for the semi-finals when they face Swaziland on Monday in their final Group A match at Nkana stadium.
Zambia are bottom of Group A on 1 point and tied with 3rd placed Swaziland.
Malawi and Uganda have 4 points each and face each other on Monday for a place in the semifinals in a simultaneous kickoff at Arthur Davies.