Zambia have parted ways with coach Dario Bonetti, despite the team qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations at the weekend.
Bonetti’s departure will come as a surprise after he secured the Chipolopolo’s place at the finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, with a 0-0 draw against Libya on Saturday.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) said the coach had left by mutual consent, but Bonetti has denied that he had agreed to leave.
“My intention was to stay here,” he told BBC Sport.
“I have done my work very well, I have qualified the team for the Nations Cup. This is a great opportunity for all our players.
“The people are happy, everything [was] ok.
“Obviously I am sorry for what’s happened, but I must accept it.”
Italian coach Bonetti was appointed in July 2010 on a two-year contract, which he says was due to be extended on qualification for the 2012 Nations Cup.
“I must take some time, maybe 10 days, to think about what’s happened and after that maybe I’ll have a press conference to say everthing that I think.”