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Sunday, 19 December, 1999, 14:45 GMT
Zambians blame burgers for football defeat

Zambian football team The Zambian team in healthier days


Zambia's national football team are cutting short a tour of the Americas after a humiliating 7-1 defeat raised questions about the squad's "junk food" diet.

The tour was to have formed part of Zambia's preparations for next month's Africa Nations' Cup finals in Nigeria and Ghana.



People risk their lives swimming across shark-infested waters to get into the United States. Our team is screaming to get out
Zambian Sunday Times
But, after their defeat at the hands of Honduras, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) announced it had been called off.

The tour has been severely criticised by the Zambian press who labelled it a "farce" following complaints from the squad about food, accommodation and training facilities.

Players repeatedly complained that their training pitch in Miami was in bad condition and they were fed a diet consisting mainly of "junk food" hamburgers and chips.


burger The team complained of junk food
The Zambian Sunday Times newspaper commented: "Miami must have been a nightmare for [coach Ben] Bamfuchile and his men. People risk their lives swimming across shark-infested waters to get into the United States. Our team is screaming to get out."

And the Sunday Mail added that the team had suffered the "global embarrassment of eating junk food" which could have a psychological effect during Zambia's opening Nations' Cup match against Egypt.

Zambia's 7-1 defeat was their heaviest loss since being thrashed 9-0 by Belgium in 1994, during an international friendly.

It is hoped the side's qualification to the Nations' Cup would mark a major step in rebuilding the team which was devastated when 18 players were killed in a plane crash six years ago.

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