Football Sport

End Olympics absence, Kalu tells U-23 squad

DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka
FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has urged the under-23 national team to end the 27-year absence from the Olympic Games.
The under-23 national team is in Senegal for the African Under-23 Championship kicking off tomorrow.
“Going to the Olympics is a good feeling and we have the confidence that you can do it and break the 27-year absence,” said Kalusha when he addressed the players and technical bench at Iba Mar Diop Stadium on Wednesday evening.
In a statement issued from Dakar yesterday by FAZ communications manager Nkweto Tembwe, Kal
usha said time is ripe for the players to make a difference and put Zambia on the world map.
Zambia last competed at the Olympic Games football tournament in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, where Kalusha scored five goals and the team reached the quarter-finals.
Kalusha is vice-chairman of the Confederation of African Football under-23 organising committee.
Meanwhile, Armenia-based midfielder Lubambo Musonda will miss Zambia’s opening match against Tunisia tomorrow while Egypt-based striker Ronald Kampamba is expected to join the team today.
Tembwe said they have agreed with Armenian side Gandzasar Kapan that Lubambo should join the team on Monday.
“We have been in touch with the club and they have assured us that they will release the player. We are expecting him on Monday,” he said.
Under-23 coach Fighton Simukonda said with or without Lubambo, the junior Chipolopolo are aiming for victory against Tunisia.
Zambia are drawn in Group A alongside hosts Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia while Group B has Algeria, Egypt, Mali and Nigeria.
The top three teams will book tickets to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games while the fourth- placed team will play in a play-off against an Asian side.
Meanwhile, football administrator Marcha Chilemena has urged the under-23 national team to do the country proud in Senegal, CECILIA ZULU reports.
Chilemena said in Lusaka on Wednesday that the team should ‘die a little’ for Zambia and qualify for next year’s Rio de Jainero Olympic Games.
“If the team manages to qualify for the semi-finals [Africa Under-23 Championship] in Senegal, then they will be in contention for a place at the Olympic Games,” he said.
Chilemena said the junior Chipolopolo have what it takes to qualify for the Olympic Games.

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