Zambia coach Beston Chambeshi will have more reason than most to have a fine 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships in South Africa next month.
Chambeshi will hope to use the tournament as preparation for the African Under-20 Championships that Zambia will host in February and March next year, and their regional championship will provide vital game-time ahead of the continental showpiece.
Chambeshi, who has had a provisional squad in camp in recent days ahead of both competitions, was pleased with the competition that his team’s Group B draw, which also includes regional rivals Zimbabwe and Malawi, will provide.
“It is a good draw, the teams will give us a good tournament especially that we are preparing for the CAF tournament,” Chambeshi was quoted in The Post. “Preparation is what is key. Looking at the team we have, we have no doubt we will do well at the tournament. Our target will be set after each game; we will play a game at a time.”
Chambeshi has selected strong squad for the COSAFA tournament that includes the best young talent in the country who are seen as the future of Chipolopolo.
This includes Denmark-based Kenneth Kalunga from Ikast FS as the only overseas-based player in the selection.
And there is at least one player hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Midfielder Chrispin Sakulanda from Mufulira Wanderers is the son of former Nkana striker Musole Sakulanda, who played for Zambia in the COSAFA Castle Cup in 1998.
Zambia have been COSAFA Under-20 Championship winners on a record 10 occasions, including a hat-trick of tittles between 2009 and 2011.
They exited in the first round the last time the tournament was played in 2013, though Chambeshi will know that a similar result will be a blow to their preparations for the African Under-20 Championships.
There they have been drawn in Group A alongside Egypt, Guinea and Mali for the February 26-March 12 tournament.
South Africa are the only other COSAFA side to have reached the finals and will take on Sudan, Senegal and Cameroon in Group B.
Zambia training squad:
Goalkeepers: Mangani Banda (Zanaco), Tresford Mulenga (Kabwe Warriors), Samson Banda (Zesco United)
Defenders: Shemmy Mayembe (Zesco United), Boyd Mkandawire (Napsa Stars), Prosper Chilufya (Kafue Celtic), Bonston Muchindu (Young Nkana), Sydney Phiri (Gomes), Jonathan Daka (Lumwana Radiants), Solomon Sakala (Kabwe Warriors)
Midfielders: Linos Makwaza Jnr (Young Power Dynamos), Leonard Mulenga, Boyd Musonda (both Zanaco), Enock Mwepu (Napsa Stars), Stephen Chulu (Kabwe Warriors), Chrispin Sakulanda (Mufulira Wanderers), Kenneth Kalunga (Ikast FS, Denmark)
Forwards: Patrick Ngoma (Red Arrows), Siame Musonda (Kafue Celtic), Obed Masumbuko (Lumwana Radiants), Fashion Sakala (Zanaco), Joseph Phiri (Red Arrows), Happy Nsofwa (Mufulira Police), Benson Chali (Forest Rangers), Paul Banda (Lusaka Dynamos)