ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu says the under-17 national team’s victory at the Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) Championship
is an indication that the future of Zambian soccer is bright.
“The marvellous performance by the boys shows that we have an oasis of talent to tap into for us to form the future senior national team. The under-17 has made us proud and it is my prayer that they will be consistent in their performance to bring greater glory to the nation,” Lungu said yesterday in a statement issued by special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda.
He paid tribute to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) for the tireless efforts in taking football to higher heights.
Lungu also extolled the Mumamba Numba-led technical bench for their resilience to bring victory home.
“On behalf of the Zambian government, the people of Zambia and indeed on my own behalf, l extend congratulations to the boys, coach, technical team and FAZ. Continue to work hard to transform the standards of football in Zambia. May the Almighty God bless you in future assignments,” he said.
Zambia crushed Mauritius 3-0 at St Francois Xavier Stadium in Port Louis, Mauritius, on Sunday.
Skipper Prince Mumba, Christopher Phiri and Kingsley Hakwiya scored a goal apiece.
The team is expected back home today.
Meanwhile, FAZ president Andrew Kamanga hopes results attained by junior teams will spur the senior national team to conquer in the 2018 Russia World Cup and 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, ALEX NJOVU reports.
Kamanga said the junior teams have shown the way to success.
“Congratulations to the under- 17 national team, the technical bench, FAZ executive committee members and the head of delegation Kabaso Kapambwe, who is also in charge of youth football.
“This was a good tournament for a young side which was assembled within a short period. The selection procedure was transparent and the technical bench picked the best players. Going forward, we need to build on this success and look forward to the next assignment at COSAFA, which is the under- 20,” Kamanga said in an interview from Port Louis on Sunday.
He said the Chipolopolo should learn something from the junior teams’ success.
The under-20 national team won the COSAF A Youth Championship last December, lifted the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations and reached the quarter-finals at the FIFA South Korea World Cup.
“We hope the results from the junior teams will be replicated at the senior level, where we have struggled, but we remain hopeful that we will succeed in the 2019 Africa Cup and the 2018 World Cup qualifiers,” Kamanga said.
Meanwhile, COSAFA has asked Zambia to host this year’s regional under- 20 championship.
“COSAFA has asked us [Zambia] to step in and host the under- 20 championship. The tournament was supposed to be held in Mozambique but our colleagues are not able to do so, that is how we have been asked to host the event,” he said.