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Cheers to Under-20

CONGRATULATIONS to the Zambia under-20 national soccer team for qualifying for the 2015 Senegal Africa Youth Championship.
It is indeed a golden jubilee gift, to borrow under-20 coach Hector Chilombo’s words.
Zambia booked the ticket to Senegal with a 3-1 aggregate win over neighbours Malawi.
The players and technical bench should pat themselves on the back as the rest of the country continues clapping.
But as we celebrate the triumph, we should think of the task ahead.
The two-week tournament will kick off on March 8.
The Football Association of Zambia and the under-20 technical bench should come up with an intensive programme for the squad.
With adequate preparations, the junior Chipolopolo could conquer Africa.
On two occasions Zambia has competed at the Africa Youth Championship, Patrick Phiri and George Lwandamina guided their respective teams in 1999 and 2007 to fourth position.
This earned the team’s qualification for the World Youth Championship.
This time around, the focus should be to lift the trophy.
We have been fourth twice and like any other ambitious country, we need to aim for the first position.
Zambia has abundant talent and Chilombo’s squad has the skill to take on the best on the continent.
There is nothing impossible and with determination, even the impossible could be achieved.
The key is to embark on early preparations.
Days of travelling for competitions to make up numbers are long gone.
On Sunday, I was among the 10,000 people that thronged Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium to watch the international friendly between Zambia and Sudan.
But I was disappointed with the sitting arrangement that saw soccer fans being allocated seats in the press zone, which should be only for journalists.
How can a journalist concentrate on his work when a person next is singing the famous Chipolopolo anthem?
I expect organisers to ensure that only journalists have access to the press zone when Zambia hosts Niger and Cape Verde in the 2015 Morocco Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
I wish the Zambia national soccer team success when they face Mozambique this Saturday in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Let us support the team from the first whistle.
sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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