VICTOR KUMWENDA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu says the under-20 national team’s journey to ultimate glory seems assured following the junior Chipolopolo’s qualification to the quarter-finals of the ongoing 2017 FIFA World Cup in South Korea.
Zambia beat Germany 4-3 in a thrilling round of 16 match at Jeju World Cup Stadium to reach the last eight for the first time.
The junior Chipolopolo’s last appearance at the global event ended in a round of 16 defeat to Nigeria in 2007 in Canada.
Zambia lost 2-1 to the West Africans with Roger Kola netting the consolation.
In a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by his special assistant for press and public relations, Amos Chanda, Lungu commended the team for their victory over the Europeans.
“I once again wish to sincerely commend and thank the under-20 national team for a splendid performance in this afternoon’s [yesterday] game at Jeju where they defeated Germany 4-3.
“The junior Chipolopolo has continued to show the nation an example of the power of unity and purpose. The journey to ultimate glory seems assured going by the dedication the team has continued to display,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu has urged the team to remain focused and aim at hoisting the World Cup trophy.
“On behalf of Government and indeed on my own behalf, I once again wish to encourage the players and the technical bench to continuously set their eyes on the ball in the ongoing campaign to lift the World Cup,” he said.
And ALEX NJOVU in Lusaka reports that Zambia erupted into world celebrations following Zambia’s victory over Germany.
A check by the Daily Mail crew on Church Road and the Levy Mall in Lusaka found scores of fans dancing and whistling following the victory.
The fans took to the streets to celebrate the victory through song and dance while others were seen ululating. Those that were driving honked in most parts of the capital.
“This is a proud moment for me as a Zambian,” Francis Chisobe said.
While motorists took to honking, corporate offices turned into mini sports cafes bursting into cheers each time Zambia scored.
It was understandable; it was probably a game those with emotions that lead to blood pressure should have kept away from.
But as they say, all is well that ends well; not even the comments on poverty and HIV by the commentator could dampen the celebratory mood, although some soccer fans were clearly angered by his comments, a fact they displayed openly on social media.
Had Zambia been dumped out of the tournament, coach Beston Chambeshi might not have looked forward to his trip back home. Towards the end of regulation time, with Zambia leading 3-1, soccer fans, even those that turned up during the course of the game, knew the best tactic to see off the tie – substitutions to wind down the clock.
When the substitution finally came, it was Fashion Sakala making way for Conlyde Luchanga, and that was in extra time. The tears by Sakala explained it all; the game could go either way. After all, the momentum was with the German machine which had done wonders to force the game into extra time when it seemed all over.
But defender Shemmy Mayembe had other ideas; he scored towards the end of the first half to settle the fans’ nerves. But even then, it was not over until it was completely over.
Fortunately, there was no repeat of the drama that characterised the end of the 90-minute regulation time in extra time.