ZAMBIA under-17 national team coach Ian Bakala has confirmed to have dropped players from his squad because of age cheating.
Speaking after a 10-day assessment camp that attracted 45 players, Bakala said the technical bench was shocked that some players who were part of the camp preparing for the U17 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Algeria next month were over 20 years.
“The players were more than 25 despite the number we called in camp, I think some of them were coming without our knowledge but we gave them chance though some of them were over aged,” Bakala said.
“Some of the provinces were guided and even us on the technical bench we were surprised why they brought over aged players to the under-17 because it was surprising seeing a player, 22, 23 years being told by people who brought them saying no you just have to tell them that you are 15 years but when you look at the age of the player and after investigations we found a lot of players were over aged,” he said. Bakala cautioned scouts to be sincere by sending talented players of the right age especially at under-17 level which goes through the MRI Scan to determine the players right age.
“It is a national team and people can’t risk getting the national team suspended because of one player. They need to help us. We have some players who didn’t make it because of being over age and some their quality was below par,” Bakala said. Bakala said the selection process was done on merit after the Junior Chipolopolo squad was trimmed from 45 to 35 players.
He said the 10-day camp has helped the technical bench to assess the players ahead of the youth AFCON scheduled for next month.
“Going into the next camp I don’t think we will invite other players who are not on the list we just need to concentrate on the players who are on the list because time has gone. The next camp will be closed we are going to concentrate on players who are on the list,” Bakala said.
Öas Coach Mutapa names final squad for AFCON qualifier
By MICHAEL MIYOBA
IN a quest to prepare adequately for the 2023 U23 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt, the Zambia under-23 national soccer team is today scheduled to face Niger in an international friendly match.
Coach Osward Mutapa has unveiled a 23-member squad ahead of the Niger friendly and Afcon qualifier against Egypt.
Mutapa has selected a squad consisting of two foreign-based stars in Miguel Chaiwa and Mannah Chiwisa who are expected to join the team on March 19.
Meanwhile, Under-23 midfielder Prince Mumba said the lads were ready to play both Niger and Egypt.
“Against Egypt it will be a different game for they are a different team but with all the preparations we are ready for the match,” Mumba said.
“Playing Niger is very important for us because it will give us the confidence to say we can do it.” And Chambishi FC midfielder Martin Zulu said; “It is really encouraging for me. I have been working hard for this opportunity and it’s in my hands and I need to put in a lot for the country and work hard for the results that are needed for the country for us to qualify for the Africa Cup.”
After playing Niger, Zambia will travel to Egypt for the first leg of the Under-23 AFCON qualifier slated for March 22 with the second leg set for the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on March 27.
The winner over both legs will qualify for the 2023 U23 TotalEnergies Africa Cup which will be held in November.
Goalkeepers – Levison Banda (Zesco United), Francis Mwansa (Trident) and Mukuka Chilufya (Aguila Stars).
Defenders – Emmanuel Chembe (Nchanga Rangers), Matthews Chabala (Nchanga Rangers), Sharp Chikondi Njobvu (Green Eagles), Gift Mphande (Atletico Lusaka), Happy Nsiku (Red Arrows), John Chishimba (Zesco United).
Patrick Gondwe (Nkana), Joshua Mutale (Power Dynamos), Prince Mumba (Kabwe Warriors), John Kasamu (Green Buffaloes), Golden Mashata (Green Buffaloes) Martin Njobvu (Green Buffaloes), Martin Zulu (Chambishi)
Strikers – Jimmy Mukeya (Napsa Stars), Andrew Phiri (FC Muza), Wilson Chisala (Zanaco), Enock Sakala (Zesco United), Ricky Banda (Red Arrows)
Chaiwa and Chiwisa are also expected to join the team on March 19.