The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) have a difficult task on their hands, as they aim to whittle down a list of 17 foreign coaching candidates to decide on a four-man shortlist for a final interview which will be conducted next week.

The Chipolopolo have been without a permanent coach since Frenchman Hervé Renard left the side in October 2013 to take up a position at French club FC Sochaux.

Since Renard’s departure the team has been handled by a selection of local coaches in a temporary capacity, but the time has finally come for the Zambians to move forward with a permanent head coach.

Failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon has opened the door for a foreign coach to take charge of the national team ahead of World Cup qualifiers, and 17 candidates have applied for the post, rumours of who will fill the position are floating around social media.

The 2018 World Cup qualification draw saw the Chipolopolo placed in the ‘group of death’ alongside Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria, and the difficult task of topping such a selection will require experienced tactical leadership from a foreign coach, according to sources at the FAZ.

Zambian football experienced their best form under former coach Renard, winning the 2012 AFCON to be crowned African champions.