Dream team qualify to U23 AFCON to keep olympic dream alive! (Updated)
Congo U23 3-3 Zambia U23 [Agg: 4-5]
Zambia Under-23 qualified to the Egypt 2019 CAF U23 African Cup of Nations on Sunday afternoon via a 5-4 aggregate win over Congo.
Red Bull Salzburg duo Enoch Mwepu and Patson Daka scored the vital goals to earn the Dream Team a 3-3 draw against Congo.
The Zambian lads went into the game with a delicate 2 – 1 lead and the technical bench was clearly not impressed with the display and they rang four changes to the start eleven. Prosper Chiluya, Ngosa Sunzu, Field Nkandela and Lameck Banda were given starting berths ahead of Kebson Kamanga, Emmanuel Banda, Ghamphani Lungu and Kings Kangwa.
The Beston Chambeshi coached lads were holding up well but were unfortunate when the Gabonese referee handling the game awarded a dubious penalty to the hosts. Both the Zambian players and the Congolese players were proceeding with the game he called back play pointing to the spot for what seemed a fair challenge amidst protests from the young Chipolopolo.
The match was delayed for about five minutes as the Zambian technical bench talked to the players to get back on the pitch to have the penalty taken. Mbenza stepped up and converted from the spot in the 26th minute.
The boys looked unfazed by the unfortunate development and they pulled one back seven minutes later when Patson Daka brilliantly laid a Prosper Chiluya pass into the path of Enock Mwepu who finished from inside the box with his first touch.
The visitors continued looking comfortable and took the lead in the 51st minute when Daka’s volley came off the ground to beat the Congolese keeper.
However, the Zambian had a low three minutes when they conceded two goals in the 77th and 80th minute. Mangani Banda seemed to have stopped a ball played quickly in the box but he was dispossessed by the sliding striker Jacques Temopele who reacted quickly to finish from a tight angle at the near post. Congo restored the lead when they a well taken shot from outside the box by Tomepele caught Mangani in goal by surprise as he remained rooted to his position.
At this stage, the Congolese were throwing everything at Zambia as they only needed a goal to secure passage. However, a moment of brilliance from Mwepu in the 86th minute so him eliminate his marker in the midfield to charge into the box before completing a one-two with Daka which he finished off to secure Zambia’s passage to the Egypt finals.
Unfortunately for Zambia, Fashion Sakala was sent to the stands from the bench for what seemed to be dissent.
Zambia will join seven other teams including hosts Egypt at the U23 Africa Cup of Nations finals where the top three teams will qualify to the 2020 Olympics. The Zambian team is the first to qualify and will await results from the rest of the qualifiers billed for Tuesday as follows:
10.09.2019 Bulawayo Zimbabwe vs South Africa (0-5)
10.09.2019 Setif Algeria vs Ghana (1-1)
10.09.2019 Tunis Tunisia vs Cameroon (0-1)
10.09.2019 Conakry Guinea vs Cote d’Ivoire (1-0)
10.09.2019 Asaba Nigeria vs Sudan (0-1)
10.09.2019 Bamako Mali vs Morocco (1-1)
ZAMBIA STARTING XI
1. Mangani Banda, 13. Shemmy Mayembe, 3. Prosper Chiluya, 2. Moses Nyondo, 5. Solomon Sakala, 19. Ngosa Sunzu, 14. Field Kandela, 11. Enock Mwepu, 7. Lameck Banda, 10. Fashion Sakala (Kings Kangwa 58′), 20. Patson Daka
16. Charles Muntanga, 4. Kebson Kamanga, 9. Gamphani Lungu, 12. Emmanuel Banda, 8. Harrison Chisala, 15. Biston Banda, 17. Kings Kangwa
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