Coach Osward Mutapa has named his Zambia squad for the 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship to be staged in Blantyre, Malawi from October 11-20.
Zambia will be seeking to regain the title they won in 2017 and have selected a very young group with one eye on the next round of Africa Under-17 Championship qualifiers. It includes 13-year-old midfielder Joseph Banda and another seven players who are only 14 years old, as Mutapa looks to shape the next generation of Zambian stars.
Zambia have a tough first round pool having been drawn in Group A, where they will gave Eswatini on October 12, regional heavyweight rivals South Africa two days later and hosts Malawi in their final game on October 16.
Zambia have been regular participants in the COSAFA Under-17 Championships down the years, but for all their power in the region have only lifted the trophy once. They picked up a bronze in their first appearance in 1994, defeating Namibia (5-0) and Malawi (3-0) in the pool stages to go with draws against South Africa (1-1) and Eswatini (0-0).
They came unstuck in the semifinals though after a 2-1 loss to Mozambique but rallied to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in the third-place play-off. They played just a single pool game in 2001, a 3-0 victory over Lesotho, before losing 5-4 to Malawi in the semifinals. Again, they took home the bronze with a 2-0 victory over Eswatini.
They did not play in 2002 but returned in 2007 and once more had to settle for bronze. A 1-1 draw with Malawi was followed by an 8-0 success over Botswana to see them top their pool.
Zimbabwe were their semi-final opponents and after a 1-1 draw, it was The Baby Warriors who triumphed 5-4 on penalties. Zambia beat Malawi 1-0 in the third-place play-off.
The team were disqualified from the 2016 event for fielding two over-age players but returned a year later to lift their maiden crown. They advanced into the knockout stages with wins over Madagascar (7-1) and South Africa (3-2), and despite a 1-0 loss to Mozambique.
After a 2-0 semifinal win, Zambia completed a comprehensive 3-0 victory over hosts Mauritius in the final to take gold. They could not defend that title in 2018 though as the team surprisingly exited in the first round. A 0-0 draw with Mozambique was followed by a 1-0 win over Lesotho, but their fate was sealed by a 2-1 loss to South Africa.
Zambia have only appeared at the African Under-17 Championships once before, making their debut in 2015, but bowing out in the first round.
Goalkeepers: David Minganja, Iford Mwale
Defenders: Lombe Mutale, Lackson Tembo, Miguel Changa Chaiwa, Onesimus Chipango, Peter Chikola, Benson Simwanda
Midfielders: Dominic Kanda, Chipyoka Songa, Kelvin Mwanza, Joseph Sabobo Banda, Lasmond Phiri, Charles Majapa Mumba, Julius Kumwenda, Brian Mate, Innocent Nkhoma
Strikers: Rickson Ng’ambi, Moses Mulenga, Twiza Mulenga