Football Sport

U-20 need adequate preparation

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
THE stage is set and the under-20 national team need to hit the ground running.
Zambia will host the 2017 Africa Youth Championship next February.
The line-up is complete after last Friday’s last round of matches across the continent.
Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and hosts Zambia will do battle at the two-week tournament.
With this kind of opposition, hosts Zambia will not have it easy.
The top four finishers will qualify for the World Youth Championship set for South Korea later next year.
Zambia’s performance at the 2015 edition in Senegal was pathetic, to say the least.
The team lost all the three group matches to return home without a point.
The junior Chipolopolo lost 1-0 to Mali, 2-1 to Ghana and 5-2 to South Africa.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) should ensure that the under-20 side is adequately prepared.
The team should play as many friendly matches as possible so that we mould a formidable side that will challenge for honours.
Zambia has finished fourth on two occasions at the Africa Youth Championship and time is ripe to target lifting the trophy.
The Patrick Phiri-drilled under-20 side finished fourth in Ghana in 1999 and the junior Chipolopolo under the guidance of George Lwandamina managed fourth position in 2007 in Congo Brazzaville.
With the crowd rallying behind the junior Chipolopolo, winning the tournament should be the aim.
It will be embarrassing to host and then get eliminated in the first round.
The under-20 national team technical bench led by Beston Chambeshi should also select players on merit.
Over the years, selection of players for age group teams has been biased. Let’s have it correct this time around.
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I am wishing Zesco United success in today’s CAF Champions League Group A match against Ivorian side Asec Mimosas.
Victory will take Zesco a stone’s throw away from a maiden semi-final appearance.
Enjoy the beautiful game and let’s interact on phiristeve4@ gmail.com, sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm



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