Who goes to U-20 final?

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 09:37:23 +0000


….as Zambia, SA clash in today’s AfCON semi-final thriller

By Michael Miyoba

THE two Southern African arch-rivals and the best teams at the on-going Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations – Zambia and the Amajita of South Africa – clash this evening in a mouth-watering semi-final fixture of the Junior AfCON at Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium.

The Beston Chambeshi-tutored Junior Chipolopolo go into today’s game having qualified with a 100 percent winning record from Group A of the tournament.

Zambia defeated Guinea 1-0 in the opening fixture with Patson Daka’s lone goal, ensuring that the boys collected maximum points.

The Junior Chipolopolo – led by strikers Daka and Fashion Sakala – then humiliated tournament favourites Mali 6-1 in their second game to command Group A with six points.

Zambia then met the Young Pharaohs of Egypt in the third game which Zambia came from behind to win 3-1 at National Heroes Stadium.

Coach Chambeshi believes his lads have what it takes to emulate their previous performances, having beaten Amajita with a 2-1 scoreline in their last two meetings.

But he said his squad will not underrate South Africa despite having beaten them twice in the last two fixtures.

“We are not under pressure, We respect South Africa because it wasn’t easy for  them to reach the semi-final but I think they also respect us because we are not a small team and it will be a good encounter when we meet them tomorrow (today), ” Chambeshi said.

Chipolopolo vice-captain and goalkeeper Mangani Banda promised that the Amajita will not stop the Junior Chipolopolo from achieving their target of winning this year’s Total Under-20 AfCON.

But despite having lost to Zambia in the last two meetings, South Africa head coach Thabo Senong believes his boys can pull a surprise against their nemesis.

Senong said he will be playing Zambia with a different team and not the team that lost 2-1 in an international friendly at Nkoloma Stadium a month ago.

“Every match is different with different dynamics and the team we used in the COSAFA tournament is different from the team we used in the Zambia friendly. And in tomorrow’s (today) match we will be playing Zambia for a third time now with a different team again.

‘‘But the good part is that all our best players are available for this fixture,” Senong said.

The former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundown youth teams’ coach noted that the Zambia Under-20 was a “great” team but said because of being a host nation Zambia was under pressure to deliver the trophy.

Zambia and South Africa are the two teams with the highest scoring records at this year’s junior AfCON, having scored 10 and 9 goals respectively.

Zambia has however allowed only two goals while the Amajita have conceded six, bringing the goal difference to three.

The winner between Zambia and South Africa will meet the winner of the second semi-final clash between Group A runners-up Guinea and Senegal.


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