Zambia coach Charles Bwale has named a provisional squad of 30 players for the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships to be staged in Kitwe from December 2-14.
Zambia will look to regain the trophy they lost to rivals South Africa last year and extend their record of 11 victories in the regional championship. Bwale has included two overseas-based players in his provisional list, calling on forward Mwiya Malumo, who was previously in the development ranks of English side Wigan Athletic, and midfielder Edward Chilufya, who turns out for Swedish side Djurgardens IF.
There are also a number of players returning from the side that bowed out in the first round last year, including Kafue Celtics forward Francesco Mwepu, who netted both goals the side scored in the tournament.
Zambia have been drawn in a tricky Group A that includes regional rivals Malawi and Mozambique, and Central African guest nation DR Congo. The latter were a late replacement for reunion, who withdrew after the draw had been made.
Bwale has previously told COSAFA.com that he is aiming for the semi-finals first before thinking about lifting the title.
“The last tournament was disappointing, but I firmly believe that this year will be different,” Bwale says. “We will keep many of the guys who competed then and most of them are heading in the right direction in terms of their development.
“You could say that they are three-quarters of the way to where they need to be and this tournament will be another big step forward for them.
“But we cannot get ahead of ourselves, based on last year we need to target reaching the semifinals first before we think about lifting the cup. It will be one step at a time.”
Only the top team in each pool and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semifinals.
Zambia Provisional Squad:
Goalkeepers: Prince Bwalya (Green Buffaloes), Patrick Chooma (Intersport Youth), Flobby Mashakalati (Circuit City), Bradley Mweene (University of Pretoria)
Defenders: Kingsley Hakwiya (Dream Factory), Jonathan Kapelembe (Romeki FC) , Christopher Katongo (Kasama United Youth Academy), Justin Mwanza (Young Nkana), Andrew Phiri (Kafue Celtics), Whiteson Chiluba (Supreme Grace), Oliver Lumbiya (Young Nkana), Benson Kolala (Nchanga Rangers)
Midfielders: Muma Mumba (Green Eagles), Kings Kangwa (Happy Hearts), Thomas Zulu (Kafue Celtics), Chanda Mukuka (Gomes), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors), Patrick Gondwe (Young Nkana), Albert Kangwanda (Kafue Celtics), Musonda Kalale (Chambishi), Lameck Banda (Zesco United), Salifyaji Mugala (Morning Stars), Godfrey Mashata (Happy Hearts), Edward Chilufya (Djurgardens IF)
Strikers: James Chilimina (Kafue Celtics), Francesco Mwepu (Kafue Celtics), Martin Njobvu (Nchanga Rangers), Mwiya Malumo (Unattached), Emmanuel Mwiinde (Young Green Buffaloes), Kingsley Fichite (Green Eagles)