4 foreign-based players beef up U-23 squad

FOUR foreign-based players have been drafted in Zambia’s Under-23 squad leaving for the 2015 CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal from November 28 to December 12, says coach Fighton Simukonda.

Simukonda  said lanky winger Lubambo Musonda together with Belgium-based Ronald Kampamba, Patrick Ngoma and Aubrey Chirwa have been called to duty by the soft-spoken mentor who was eyeing continental glory after a relatively decent performance in the qualifiers.

Simukonda has also called Mufulira Wanderers defender Taonga Bwembya and Kabwe Warriors goalkeeper Lawrence Mulenga who are the most debut inclusions from home-based players to his 21-man squad he has assembled.

Zambia is placed in Group A along with hosts Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. Group A matches will be hosted at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar.

Zambia will kick off their campaign against Tunisia on November 28 before taking on South Africa on December 1.

The junior Chipolopolo will then conclude the group games with a tricky encounter against hosts Senegal on December 4.

The tournament will also act as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games football tournament.

The top three teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics men’s football tournament in Brazil as the CAF representatives.

And the Zambia Sports Fans’ Association (ZASPOFA) has implored the junior Chipolopolo to travel to Senegal with a positive mind of winning the championship and not just as mere participants.

ZSFA patron Peter Makembo said the U-23 had the potential to win the championship and consequently qualify to the 2016 Rio Olympics if the team remained focused and approached each game with the winning mentality.

“Of course the team has what it takes to conquer Africa and all what is needed is for the boys to believe that they can do it. There is nothing difficult to achieve in football and they have already showed that they are capable of beating the much-fancied opponents.

“There will be no excuse for any slip ups and they should realise that they are going there to represent the country. This also provides an opportunity for the young players to break into the European league and other major leagues in the world because there will be a lot of scouts from across the world who will be watching them,” Makembo said.

Full team

Goalkeepers: Toaster Nsabata (Zanaco), Kenny Mumba (Red Arrows), Lawrence Mulenga (Kabwe Warriors);

Defenders: Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Taonga Bwembya (Mufulira Wanderers), Boyd Mkandawire (Napsa Stars), Solomon Sakala (Kabwe Warriors), Benson Sakala (Power Dynamos), Kapota Kayawe (Nkana), Billy Mutale (Power Dynamos)

Midfielders: Jackson Chirwa (Green Buffaloes), Paul Katema (Red Arrows), Salulani Phiri (Zanaco), Spencer Sautu (Green Eagles), John Ching’andu (Zesco United), Lubambo Musonda (Gandzasar Kapan /Armenia);

Forwards: Ronald Kampamba (Lierse SK/Belgium), Patrick Ngoma (Al Ittihad/ Egypt), Conlyde Luchanga (Lusaka Dynamos), Aubrey Chirwa (Platinum FC/Zimbabwe), Friday Samu (Green Buffaloes).