THE Zambia Under-20 national soccer team will today kick off their campaign in the four-nation invitational tournament with a clash against South American soccer giants Ecuador in South Korea, the host nation for this years Under 20 World Cup.
The four-nation tournament, which has Ecuador, Honduras and hosts South Korea, kicked off yesterday and will end on March 31.
After playing Equador in the first game, the African champions will take on World Cup hosts South Korea in their second game to be played at Cheonan Sports Complex.
The Junior Chipolopolo, who are using the invitational tournament to prepare for the junior World Cup, will then clash with Honduras in the third fixture to be played at Jeju Stadium, one of the stadia that to be used for the World Cup.
Zambia conquered Africa during the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations when the Beston Chambeshi- tutored boys were crowned African champions after beating Senegal 2-0 in the final played at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka in order to secure a spot at the junior World Cup. The 21-member squad is without Zanaco midfielder Boyd Siame Musonda who could not travel with the team due to a family bereavement.
Meanwhile, the senior Zambia national soccer team has arrived in Zimbabwe ahead of tomorrow’s international friendly to be played at National Sports Stadium in Harare.
The team arrived in Zimbabwe last evening aboard the Emirates Airlines.
And speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation Sports shortly before departure for Harare, national team coach Wedson Nyirenda said he was glad to be taking on a Zimbabwean side that has improved over the years.
He said Zimbabwe was a “great” team with good players who feature in the South African premier league.
“Zimbabwe is a great team with good players who play in the South African league. They have improved a lot over the years as you know that they were at the last AfCON when we did not make it and despite having been eliminated in the first round at the AfCON, they are a good team,” Nyirenda said.
And former Mufulira Wanderers midfielder Austin Banda, who is now on the books of Napsa Stars, is part of the 22-member squad Nyirenda has called, making his debut appearance at national level.
“The boys has been very impressive and he is a fast learner,” Nyirenda told the Daily Nation Sports.
Among those who were dropped are Power Dynamos goalkeeper Allan Chibwe, Green Eagles Mwila Phiri, Mukabanga Siambombe of Zamcoal Diggers, Isaac Siamujompa of Nchanga Rangers and Misheck Chaila who sustained an injury during the friendly match against Lusaka Dynamos.