Cosafa derby goes Continental as Junior Chipolopolo, Amajita face off
It’s the Cosafa derby in the CAF Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations semi final at a sold out 60, 000 Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Wednesday as the two Southern African arch rivals square up.
For the global audience, it just a semi final match, but in the Cosafa region it is more than game. It’s about bragging rights!
Going into the game, Beston Chambeshi’s side are favourites over Amajita after two successive victories since December 2016.
The Junior Chipolopolo beat South Africa 2-1 in the Cosafa Under-20 thanks to goals from Kenneth Kalunga and Boyd ‘The Tanker’ Musonda’s volley.
In a pre-tournament friendly, the young guns edged out South Africa with a similar scoreline at Nkoloma Stadium and this led their coach Thabo Senong describing Chambeshi’s side as super side.
“Zambia is a strong team with good attackers, pacey, skillful strikers, they play with three upfront. it’s going to be tough assignment for us,” Senong said in December ahead of the Cosafa final.
Zambia went into the final after scoring 12 goals and conceding two goals while South Africa on the other hand have fired-in 15 for zero against.
Fast track to CAF Under-20 AFCON, Zambia has already scored 10 goals in three group matches and conceding just 2 while Senong’s boys have 9 goals against 6 conceded.
Against this background, there should be caution in the Junior Chipolopolo camp against underrating their opponents and guard against complacency.
Actually there’s no need to far. While these boys were not born at that time, it was in 1996 enroute to the African Cup of Nations that Zambia played Tunisia in a friendly match at Independence Stadium.
A side featuring Kenneth ‘Bubble’ Malitoli who has been ever present at Heroes Stadium cheering on the boys, beat the North Africans 2-0 but three weeks later when it matters most, the Kalusha Bwalya captained side were stunned and lost 4-2 in the semi finals to deny the country its first major title.
In 1996 without the defending Champions Nigeria, Zambia was the favourite but the title ended up being won by South Africa.
There’s a general belief among the Chipolopolo faifthful that a repeat of the 2012 Zone VI games should not be allowed when a South African under-17 side claimed the title at Nkoloma Stadium.
Back to the pitch, South Africa will be without teenage forward Phakamani Mahlambi has returned to his club Bidvest Wits after featuring in two games at the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in a club versus country row, a situation that could see Zambia lose influential midfielder Boyd ‘The Tanker’ Musonda.
Zanaco want the 19 year to feature for them against George Lwandamina’s Yanga of Tanzania in the CAF Champions League, barely 24 hours before Sunday’s final.
“It is always good when you play against an opposition that are very offensive that means they can always have space behind their defensive lines, space that we can exploit, ‘ Amajita coach Senong said
Though the Zambian defence have allowed in two goals, Solomon Sakala and company at the back have been unconvincing.
In attack, top scorer Luther Singh will be a real threat and will be looking to add to his four goals.
For Zambia, it will be again the front three of Edward ‘Tiger’ Chilufya, Patson ‘New Malaza’ and the ever fashionable Fashion Sakala to continue their scoring spree.
The trio have 8 out of 10 goals Zambia has scored.
Emmanuel ‘The Maestro’ Banda Jnr and Enock ‘Computer’ Mwepu are likely to swap roles with ‘The Maestro’ in the advanced role behind Patson while the ‘Computer’ from Chambishi will be operate as the box to box midfielder with ‘The Tanker’ in the holding role.
Sakala, Moses Nyondo, Prosper Chiluya and Shadreck Mayembe will shield Mangani Banda in goal.
Zambia Probable XI: 1. Mangani Banda – 13. Shemmy Mayembe, 2. Moses Nyondo, 5. Solomon Sakala, 3. Prosper Chiluya – 11. Enoch Mwepu, 21. Boyd Musonda, 12. Emmanuel Banda Jnr – 14. Edward Musonda, 20. Patson Daka, 10. Fashion Sakala
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