It is with a sense of gratitude and happiness that I join all football loving Zambians—home and abroad—in celebrating the qualification of our Under-20 side to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup finals in South Korea in May.
Worth noting is the fact that Zambia has only previously qualified for the tournament twice—in 1999 and the other time being in 2007. And after a 10 year absence, we are back!
For this achievement, I wish to thank everyone that has played a part in the qualification.
Our Republican President, and the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) patron, His Excellence Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his government, have been wonderful and extremely supportive to us.
The team’s technical bench, the coaches both at club and academies level have been tremendous in continuously finding today’s talent.
Our predecessors, our sponsors; both present and past, the parents and guardians of our players and the fans that have been travelling far and wide, including those following the proceedings of the tournament from their homes, thank you for the support.
For my executive, this qualification is in line with our vision to make Zambia a force again in international football as was the case in the past.
The current Under-20 project is not only a fulfilment of the importance we attach to youth football but it will go a long way in creating a team whose target is to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games as well as the 2022 World Cup.
In between, the players that will continue excelling will be fused into the qualification series that our senior national side is already involved in such as the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup. It is for this very reason that we attached our senior national team coach, Wedson Nyirenda, to the Under-20 technical bench.
Our executive, with the ever-green support from the government, will ensure that this team gets the best preparations for the World Cup finals in May and we have already started talking to partners in Europe for training camps. Details of this programme will be made public once we get final confirmations.
Our aim is to definitely win this tournament suffice to say to players must not be under pressure to deliver.
Let’s enjoy each game as has been the case and let’s continue bringing smiles to the faces of our passionate supporters. This victory is for all Zambians.
On behalf of my executive, I would like to thank everyone that has played a part in the successful hosting of the tournament thus far and to our visitors, enjoy the warm hospitality our country is renowned for.