GOVERNMENT has approved the hosting of the 2017 Africa Under-20 soccer championships after the 20th Cabinet meeting held at State House on Monday.
According to a press statement by acting Chief Government spokesperson Vincent Mwale, Cabinet approved that Zambia should host the Africa Youth Championships in 2017 in order to promote the development of sport in the country.
“The hosting of such a tournament will be a major milestone for the country and is a prerequisite for us to host the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup in future,” Mwale said.
Meanwhile, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has hailed Government for giving an opportunity to the nation to host such a competitive tournament.
FAZ club licencing manager Erick Mwanza said the hosting of the tournament would provide the nation a platform to showcase what she was capable of doing and pave the way for the hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations in future.
“This is excellent news for the nation. We commend Government for the approval and for sure without their support FAZ cannot host it. This will bring development to the sport and more revenue through tourism; we now have an advantage to prove what we are capable of doing and open the way to the hosting of major tournaments.
“This is an important tournament because it is acting as a qualifier to the Under-20 World Cup,” Mwanza said.
He said Zambia already has a team in place consisting of the Under-17 players to ensure adequate preparation.
“We already have identified talented players that will make the team. We are the hosts and the need to produce positive results and qualify to the World Cup is greater.”
In 2013, The Confederation of African Football (CAF) awarded Zambia the right to host the tournament.
The hosting rights for the 2017 CAF Under-20 championship was confirmed at the CAF executive committee meeting held in Cairo on September 21, 2013.