Zambia have named their final squad for the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships as they seek to retain their title in the regional competition in Mauritius from July 19-29.
The side will be led by coach Tenant Chilumba as Oswald Mutapa, who was originally handed the reins by the Football Association of Zambia, remains under suspension by COSAFA for another month for his role in the age-cheating incident in 2016 competition that saw Zambia disqualified.
Chilumba has named a number of players that are young even by the standards of this age-group, including 13-year-olds, defender Bisalom Mwanza and midfielder Richard Ngoma.
The oldest player in the group is 17-year-old goalkeeper Phillip Malunga.
Chilumba has selected just three out-and-out strikers in Enock Sakala, Vincent Kalinda and Collins Tembo, but the side carries plenty of goalscoring threat from the midfield.
Zambia have been handed a tricky group in 2018 with fellow regional heavyweights South Africa, Mozambique and Lesotho.
Only the top team in each pool and the best runner-up advance to the semifinals.
The winner of this year’s title will qualify for the African Under-17 Championships that will be staged in Tanzania next year, which in turn serve as qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru.
All players competing in Mauritius must undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in order to determine whether they fit the criteria to compete in the Under-17 tournament.
Zambia fell foul of these rules in 2016 when two players, Nicholas Mulilo and Benjamin Phiri, failed the MRI examination and the side was disqualified after the group stages.
Zambia final squad
Goalkeepers: Phillip Malunga, Iford Mwale
Defenders: Billy Maipenzi, Lackson Tembo, Morgan Botha, Vincent Chate, Benson Simwanda, Bisalom Mwanza
Midfielders: Bernard Bwalya, Steven Mungomena, Kelvin Mwanza, Richard Ngoma, Toffee Musariri, Peter Chikola, Lasmond Phiri, Alex Miyanda Mwiinga, Daniel Tembo
Strikers: Enock Sakala, Vincent Kalinda, Collins Tembo