ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA’s ambitions of reaching the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Under-17 Championship final today come
under scrutiny when they face Malawi at St Francois Xavier Stadium in Port Louis, Mauritius.
The junior Chipolopolo finished second in Group B while Malawi topped Group A to set up a southern Africa semi-final clash.
Zambia demolished Madagascar 7-1 and edged South Africa 3-2 to storm the semi-finals with a game remaining.
Zambia lost 1-0 to Mozambique in a formality match on Tuesday.
On the other hand, Malawi thumped Botswana 2-0, walloped Zimbabwe 5-0 and overcame Mauritius 2-0 to accumulate nine points.
Coach Mumamba Numba’s boys need to summon their energies to overcome Malawi, who are yet to concede at the tournament.
“I do not think the loss to Mozambique will affect our momentum, we were trying to see a few players in that game. I think going into the semi-final, we will field the strongest team that we have. We know Malawi is a strong team and they know us as well,” Numba said.
To realise his dream of reaching the final, Numba will rely on Lameck Banda and Martin Njovu upfront.
Banda has scored five goals while Njovu has netted three times.
Skipper Prince Mumba and Muma Mumba will orchestrate play in midfield as Zambia seek handing Malawi the first defeat at the tournament.
Last year, on the eve of a semi-final clash against eventual champions Namibia, Zambia were disqualified after two players failed magnetic reso-nance imaging (MRI) tests.
This time around, Zambia have not come into conflict with the COSAFA laws.
Kingsley Hakwiya, Michael Kafusha and John Mulalangabo will keep Malawian strikers at bay.
Patrick Mwaungulu and Josephy Balakasi who scored a goal apiece in the 2-0 victory over Mauritius on Wednesday hold the key for Malawi’s success.
The other players that could cause havoc to Zambia are Chikondi Mbeta, Chinsinsi Maonga and Frank Titani.
The match will kick off at 12:30 hours and the winners will face either South Africa or Mauritius in the final on Sunday.