Zambia coach Charles Haalubono has named a preliminary squad of players for the COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from August 1-11.
The 29 players will be whittled down to the final 20 for the competition, which is the inaugural staging of the regional championship in this age-group.
Haalubono still has to give much thought to his selections and has at this stage included five goalkeepers as he seeks his best options. It is a very young selection, with 22 players aged 17 or younger. The youngest player in the squad is Edah Lungu, one of five 15-year-olds selected by Haalubono.
It is clearly a tournament of learning and growth for the squad then, with the target perhaps a tilt at the next few Women’s Under-20 World Cups. The Young She-polopolo have yet to qualify for a FIFA World Cup in this age-group, though Zambia has had success in that regard before when the Under-17 side played at the 2014 global finals in Costa Rica.
Zambia did not enter the qualifiers for the last Under-20 World Cup but have been regular participants in the past. They reached the quarterfinals of the African qualifying competition in 2002, but lost on aggregate to South Africa, and have not been past the second round since then.
Zambia have been drawn in Group B at the COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship and will take on Eswatini in their opener on August 2. After that they will face Botswana two days later, before rounding out their pool play against Tanzania on August 6.
Only the two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals.
Zambia preliminary squad:
Goalkeepers: Anna Mukumbuta, Edith Nawakwi Zimba, Memory Namonje, Blessings Kazila, Yolanda Hankanga
Defenders: Thelma Phiri, Diana Banda, Constance Kamusu, Edah Lungu, Margaret Yambe, Mary Mulenga, Mapalo Kapindula, Rosemary Nyirongo, Florence Kasonde, Sarah Jere
Midfielders: Salome Phiri, Liba Musonda, Elizabeth Mupeso, Evarine Suzeni Katongo, Maweta Gloria Chilenga, Thandiwe Ndhlovu, Mary Mambwe, Elina Mwanza, Sthokozile Champa
Strikers: Loveness Malunga, Maylan Mulenga, Lydia Mubanga, Christine Kalange, Precious Nsama