Football Sport

SA coach tips U-20 for AfCON title

ZAMBIA under-20 national team midfielder Enock Mwepu (left) vies with South Africa’s Terris Malepe during a friendly at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Sunday. Zambia won 2-1. PICTURE: ANGELA NTENTABUNGA

ALEX NJOVU & DIANA CHIPEPO, Lusaka
SOUTH Africa under-20 coach Thabo Senong says Zambia are favourites to win the Africa Youth Championship title and the junior Chipolopolo remind him of the Collins Mbesuma and the Katongo brothers’ generation.
“This generation of players reminds me of the Katongo brothers [Christopher and Felix], Collins Mbesuma and Isaac Chansa,” Senong said.
Mbesuma, Chansa, Christopher and Felix defied odds to win the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
In an interview in Lusaka on Sunday after Zambia beat South Africa 2-1, Senong said the junior Chipolopolo players are skilful.
“Zambia are favourites to win the tournament. They have talented players. They have quality players,” he said.
Senong said the Beston Chambeshi-tutored side has something ‘special’ for the future.
He, however, cautioned the junior Chipolopolo against playing in the comfort zone.
Senong said there is need for Zambia and South Africa to qualify to the last four and earn qualification to the FIFA World Youth Championship finals in May this year.
Zambia are in Group A alongside Egypt, Guinea and Mali while South Africa are in Group B with Cameroon, Senegal and Sudan.
Senong is confident the junior Chipolopolo and Amajita will meet in the final on March 12 at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
And Chambeshi said: “We are a serious working team. My boys played well. It was not an easy game but what is important was to win, especially that this is our first game at home. We need to maintain the same level.”
Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development Moses Mawere hailed the boys for displaying quality football.
“This shows that our outing in Spain was good. The boys played well.  I am particularly happy with the turn-out,” Mawere said.
Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga said: “A little more has to be done. It was a good game. The boys played well. We must continue to support the boys. We want them to do the best for the country.”
Football legend Kalusha Bwalya says the under-20 squad has what it takes to make a huge impact.
FAZ general secretary Ponga Liwewe said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the committee in charge of marketing and publicity has started placing billboards in the two hosting cities.
Liwewe said the campaign is part of the robust programme the organising committee has put in place to publicise the continental youth tournament.
FAZ has also designed a mascot for the tournament with Liwewe saying the symbol will be at Football House this week.
“Generally, we are set for the tournament. Everything is progressing well, from technical to logistics. We have started placing billboards as part of publicity and the mascot will be in this week. All is in place,” he said.
And football legend Kalusha Bwalya says the under-20 squad has what it takes to make a huge impact during the youth tournament.
“Start on a high and sustain it to the very end. This group has shown character and I am sure the boys are well-prepared mentally. They can go all the way. I hope the soccer-loving public come out in full force and support the boys in this very important CAF tournament,” Kalusha said.
Meanwhile, FAZ has started placing billboards in Lusaka and Ndola ahead of the Africa Youth Championship kicking off on February 26.
FAZ general secretary Ponga Liwewe said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the committee in charge of marketing and publicity has started placing billboards in the two hosting cities.
FAZ has also designed a mascot for the tournament with Liwewe saying the symbol would be at Football House this week.

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