Blog: Can the Class of ’17 emulate the star studded sides of ’99 & ’07
Zambia will host the 2017 U20 Africa Cup from 26th February to 12 March, 2017. As the kickoff to the tournament draws near, Zambianfootball.co.zm will build up for the tournament with weekly articles on the U20 tournament and squad.
ZamFoot Crew‘s Nicholas Chola looks back at how the previous U20 teams that have played at this tournament have faired.
With less than 41 days before Zambia host one of the prestigious soccer tournament on the continent, many soccer fans seems not to be in the mood of soccer owing to Zambia’s failure of qualifying to 2017 Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Gabon.
But are soccer fans aware that Zambia is hosting the under 20 Africa Cup of Nations? Why should Zambians have faith in this youthful squad assembled by Beston ‘Quick Silver’ Chambeshi?
Can the 2016 Cosafa Cup winners emulate the golden generations of 1999 and 2007, and go one step better by delivering gold on home soil in a copper jersey.
From time in memorial Zambia has been well known of producing star studded youthful squad. The Andrew ‘General’ Sinkala led class of ’99 that qualified to the Under-20 World Cup tournament in Nigeria under the tutelage of Patrick Phiri.
The team had the likes of talented the late Nsofwa ‘Milla’ Chaswe, Milton Tembo, Ronald Mbambara, Emmanuel Zulu, Bernard Makufi, and the two Kampambas; Gift and ‘Modibo’ Chintu.
Ian Bakala and Perry ‘The Principal’ Mutapa had to be contend with a place on the bench as Sinkala and Kampamba were automatic choices.
Francis ‘Koje’ Kasonde, not to be mistaken to African Cup of Nations winner Francis ‘Mr Reliable’ Kasonde, also was part of that side.
The 1999 squad played against the likes of Ronadinho of Brazil but lost 1-5 despite taking an lead courtesy a Sinkala 8th minute goal.
They also played against Spain led by former Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez and goalkeeper Iker Casillas who they drew with 0-0 but managed to beat Honduras 3-0.
After the tournament, Sinkala earned himself a move to Germany giants Bayern Munich. Arguably the star of the pack, Zulu turned down the a move to Bayern, hoping for his dream move to Barcelona but that never materialized and ended up in South Africa at Supersport United.
Sinkala’s midfield partner Gift was snapped up by Sundowns in South Africa while Tembo and Makufi earned contracts in Germany and Sweden respectively.
Misheck Lungu went on to be a full time Chipolopolo captain.
Another great Under-20 squad that can’t go without a mention is the famed class of ’07.
This side will go down as one of Zambia’s golden generation as a number of them went to win the African Cup of Nations in 2012.
Despite Fwayo Tembo finishing as top scorer at the African Youth Championship in Congo, the Mutendere born and bred had to settle for a place at the bench after starting the first game in Canada at the Worth Youth Championship.
Fwayo on the bench???
Yes, Coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina had too much talent at his disposal in Canada.
The quartet of Emmanuel Mayuka, Rodger Kola, Stopilla Sunzu and Justine ‘The Wardrobe’ Zulu had gatecrashed the party having not been in Congo Brazaville.
In Congo, diminutive Simon Lupiya played as a lone striker while hardman Richard Phiri was Lwandamina’s holding midfielder.
‘Ba Seba’ in the hole while Sunzu and Zulu alternating with William ‘The Magician’ Njobvu in midfield.
Joseph ‘Drill door’ Zimba and Goodson Kachingwe as full backs. The elegant Dennis Banda complimenting the hard tackling and nonsense Henry Nyambe ‘The Machine’ Mulenga.
There was also a change of guard in goal as Jacob ‘Spider Boy’ Banda was preferred ahead of the African Youth Championship hero Danny Munyao.
Despite partnering Nyambe in Congo Brazaville, Hichani ‘HH’ Himoonde was drafted into the All Africa games which reached the semi finals in Algiers.
Zambia was pitted against Africa’s football power houses at the African Youth Championship before it its name changed.
Group B comprised of Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Cameron. Who would think Zambia will beat any of the 3 opponents in the group and qualify to the semi finals?
First game was against Nigeria and the lads lost 4-2. Second match Zambia beat Cameroon 3-2 before bashing young Pharaohs 3-0 in the last group stage match.
This handed an automatic qualification to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. But Zambia lost to Congo 1-0 in the semi finals who later won the tournament.
Pitted against Spain, Uruguay and Jordan in the same group, it was always going to be difficult to make it out of this group on paper.
But the young lads emerged second in the group and qualified to the last 16. Unfortunately Zambia lost to Nigeria 1-2.
With that said, it is clear that historically Zambia has always fielded well organised, well drilled and talented young-stars whenever they have participated at the finals of the U20 Africa Cup.
Yes its now history, now its present, Zambia is in the same group with Eygpt, Mali and Guinea. Can the current U20 squad replicate the 1999, 2007 U20 squads and probably go beyond the semi finals of afcon and round of 16 at the U20 world cup? Yes we can do we do it
Zambia U20 2007 World Cup Squad (In picture)
Standing from Left to Right: 20 Stopila Sunzu, 4. Dennis Wakuchalo Banda, 1. Jacob Banda, 5. Nyambe Henry Mulenga, 19. Emmanuel Mayuka, 3. Joseph Zimba,
14. James Kachinga 8. William Njobvu 10. Clifford Mulenga 11. Fwayo Tembo. and completing the squad is captain Sebastian Mwansa.
Zambia U20 1999 World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Stanley MUMBA, Stephen KABWE
Defenders: Mishek LUNGU, Aaron SIMUTOWE, Kenny ZIMBA, Evans MWABA, Kampamba CHINTU, Festus MANGAMU
Midfielders: Ian BAKALA, Gift KAMPAMBA, Ronald MBAMBARA, Francis KASONDE, Andrew SINKALA, Emmanuel ZULU, Perry MUTAPA
Strikers: Japhet MAKAYI, Chaswe NSOFWA, Bernard MAKUFI
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