By MICHAEL MIYOBA
PREMIER Futsal League Chairman Tarak Mehta has urged the National Futsal Team to put their painful 3-2 defeat to Mozambique behind and focus on the return leg scheduled for next Saturday at the Automotive Futsal arena in Lusaka.
After scoring two away goals, Zambia will need a 1-nil win to qualify for the 2024 Futsal AFCON which will be held in Morocco after Mozambique relinquished the opportunity to host the event.
Mehta believes Zambia, who last competed at the Futsal AFCON in 2016, has what it takes to beat Mozambique on home soil to qualify for the 2024 edition.
“My encouragement to the boys is to continue working hard. We have the return leg to fight for and luck for us we have the home ground advantage this time. We must beat Mozambique to realise our dream of going to the AFCON,” Mehta said.
Asked what the team needs to do to be able to bounce back, Mehta who was the delegation leader in Mozambique, said; “We made some grave mistakes during the first leg in Mozambique, mistakes which could have made our comeback impossible but we are encouraged because we managed to get two away goals. And going into the return leg on Saturday, we will have to be cautious with how we defend because Mozambique did show that they are not a small team. They have been at the Africa Cup before and they have played at the World Cup so they have better experience compared to us and they will fight hard when they come to Zambia because they also dream of qualifying for the Futsal AFCON.”
Mehta encouraged Zambians to give the futsal team the extra push needed to overcome Mozambique on Saturday.
“Fans play a key role in any sport, and if you saw how Mozambique played, they had to dominate because the match venue was full to capacity by the home fans who were pushing their boys. We can also do the same. The boys need our support. They need the fans to give that extra push to fight until the last whistle,” Mehta said.
The winner between Zambia and Mozambique will join Morocco, Egypt and Angola who earned direct qualification as the best top three ranked.