ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka
COUNCIL of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) president Phillip Chiyangwa has hailed the under-20 national team for their stunning performance
at the ongoing 2017 FIFA South Korea World Cup.
The Beston Chambeshi-mentored side reached the quarter-finals for the first time losing to Italy 3-2 in extra time.
Zambia started the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Portugal and thumped Iran 4-2 before losing to Costa Rica 1-0 but progressed to the last 16 as Group C winners.
The young Chipolopolo rallied from behind to overcome Germany 4-3 and secure a quarter-final slot.
At the 2007 World Cup in Canada, the then George Lwandamina-tutored side reached the last 16.
Chiyangwa said in an interview from Harare that the team’s remarkable showing in South Korea is an indication that the future of Zambian football is bright.
“Those boys [under-20 national team] are heroes. Those boys made Africa proud,” said Chiyangwa, who is also Zimbabwe Football Association president.
He said COSAFA is proud of the team’s performance.
Chiyangwa said Chambeshi assembled a formidable squad that stunned the world with awesome performance.
He said the team mesmerised the world with their unique talent.
“They are a unique force. They are not only heroes of Zambia but the entire African continent. What they did brought pride to the continent,” he said.
Chiyangwa, who is also Confederation of African Football [CAF] Africa Cup of Nations organising committee vice-president, said there is need to nurture the youngsters as they are the future Chipolopolo.
Zambia netted 12 times and conceded nine goals.