AARON MUBANGA writes@SunZambian
MINISTER of Sports Emmanuel Mulenga has congratulated the Under 17 national team for having qualified for the 2021 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations.
“Having won the 8th edition of the COSAFA Youth Championship last year in Blantyre, Malawi with an unbeaten record. The Zambia Under 17 National Soccer team is on the verge of winning the tournament yet again having stormed the finals of the 2020 edition held in South Africa beating neighbours Malawi to a cricket Scoreline of 6-2,” Mulenga said.“Allow me to congratulate the boys and the entire technical team for their remarkable performance in South Africa so far and making it to the Under-17 Cup of Nations. Their performance will be a footnote in the diaries of many Zambians.”Joseph ‘Sabobo’ Banda scored a hat-trick to help Zambia thrash Malawi 6-2 at the ongoing COSAFA U-17 Championship in South Africa.The victory also means that the young Copper Bullets have qualified to the 2021 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations to be staged in Morroco, which in turn is the qualifier for the 2021 FIFA U-17 World Cup.“I further encourage the Boys to work harder in the final of the as they vie to win the tournament a record 3 times,” the minister said.Under 17 Coach George Chilufya has described the qualification as the realisation of a long term dream and equally congratulated his charges for their team spirit and discipline.“There is no time to relax, we need to remain focused because we came here for two things; to qualify to the Africa Cup and defend the COSAFA title which is a very big task, we need to make sure that we go back home with a trophy,” Chilufya said.It will be the second time that Zambia will be participating in the continental showpiece having made their first appearance in 2015.Sabobo emerged man of the match and attributed his performance to a positive team spirit.“The tournament has gone well. It is not easy to score a win but the team work has been good,” the mid-fielder said.Coach Chilufya made no change to the team that beat Angola 2-1 on Sunday. The young Copper Bullets came into the match looking for their second successive win in the tournament.Zambia took the lead just after 11 minutes thanks to a well taken free-kick from Joseph Banda. Rickson Ng’ambi’s well-timed run helped him to finish off a long ball from Lombe Mutale to double the lead. Joseph Banda added a third just before half time.A minute into the second half Charles Mumba Majapa added a fourth. Three minutes later Sabobo completed his hat-trick.Malawi’s Chifundo Mphasi reduced the deficit to a three goal lead with a brace but Teddy Khumalo came from the bench to get his name on the scoresheet with a looping shot into the back of the net to leave Mhone well-beaten as the champions got their sixth to all but seal the match.The win means Zambia will finish in the top two in the four-team mini-pool, enough to reach Sunday’s final
The final round of pool matches will be played simultaneously today with Zambia meeting South Africa and Angola facing Malawi.