With COSAFA set to host a tournament in this age group next year, Under-15 players from across the 10 provinces in Zambia finally assembled in Lusaka for the final stretch of selection for the Croatia Invitational Tournament.
Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has been at the heart of the talent search collaborating with the Chisi Mbewe headed technical bench that is expected to deliver its final 21-member squad this week.
The technical directorate combed through Lusaka, Central, Copperbelt and North Western provinces while the rest of the provinces conducted local trials with the help of local coaches.
With the decentralization of FAZ operations, the technical directorate has a cadre of local youth coaches recently trained that have been running the talent identification program.
Lusaka has running under-14 and 16 leagues with the former providing a pool of prospective players for the midlands select.
Micho expressed delight with the diversity of the players drawn from across the country and hoped that the Croatia outing will be a launchpad for future Chipolopolo stars.
The Serb said the 8-Nation Invitational Tournament will be a mini world cup.
“It’s (the Croatia tournament is) a great exposure for the players that will represent the country for the first time in their personal capacities in the best way and start an early preparation for the generation of players that we want to prepare for the new Under-17 team that in two years’ time, will contest to go to the World Cup Under-17, Under-20 World Cup in five years’ time, to the Olympics and the World Cup in 2030,” said Micho.
The Serb has showed confidence in the boys who have displayed skill, speed and talent, before giving hope to some of the players who will not make the Croatia bound team in the third week of September, 2020.
“No player will be forgotten. We will follow the progress of others and they could jump in later stages and play for the Chipolopolo,” he said.
The Croatia Invitational tournament will run from 21 September to 28 September, 2020.
Zambia has been invited as part of a partnership between the two associations that was signed by FAZ president Andrew Kamanga and his Croatian counterpart Davor Suker.
Source: Football Association of Zambia