Junior Chipolopolo aim at Malawi

From NEBAT MBEWE in Blantyre, Malawi
AFTER a lengthy but comfortable drive from Lusaka into Blantyre, the under-20 national soccer team has restored its focus on “getting a result” out of their 2015 Senegal Africa Youth Championship final round first leg clash against Malawi here tomorrow.
The team yesterday had two training sessions at the Kamuzu Stadium, venue of the encounter, with all the players looking relaxed but committed to the task ahead.
Delegation leader Jeff Chipilungu says Zambia is fully aware of Malawi’s prowess but the junior Chipolopolo are working on getting a result that will give them an advantage before the return leg in Lusaka.
“Our mission is to get a positive result.  After the journey our focus is now on the game,” Chipilungu said in an interview yesterday.
The team is confident of its collective skills but is also counting on some measure of support from Zambians resident in Malawi to urge them on from the stands.
The team has been well received and is happy with their accommodation at the Malawi Sun Hotel.
Zambia eliminated Mozambique 4-0 on aggregate to set up tomorrow’s clash against Malawi, who pummelled Democratic Republic of Congo 4-2 over two legs.
The winners of the two-legged tie will qualify for the 2015 Africa Youth Championship finals to be hosted by Senegal.
Meanwhile, VICTOR KUMWENDA reports that under-20 national team coach Hector Chilombo says his charges must finish off Malawi in Blantyre to seal qualification to the Africa Youth Championship finals.
Chilombo said in an interview from Blantyre yesterday that his aim is to win with a big margin in the first leg to ease pressure in the return match.
“We know that this is the last hurdle because our aim is to qualify for the Africa Cup in Senegal next March. We have come here to upset tables and the players are focused, the attitude is right. We are here to win.
“When we played Mozambique, we did well away from home winning 2-0 and we got the same result at home. We want to wrap up the tie by winning right here in Malawi so that when we go back, it will be easy for us in the return leg,” he said.
Zambia eliminated Mozambique 4-0 on aggregate while Malawi stunned Democratic Republic of Congo 4-2 on aggregate to reach the final round.
Chilombo, however, said the young Flames will be a hard nut to crack.
“We will not underrate them [Malawi]. For them to reach this stage it means they are a good but so we are. We have quality players who are able to win it here in Malawi,” he said.
The junior Chipolopolo last featured at the Africa Youth Championship finals in 2007 in Congo Brazzaville where they finished fourth to earn qualification to the World Youth Championship finals held in the same year in Canada.