Zambia U-20 men’s national football team coach Beston Chambeshi will be looking for victory as his team faces Guinea in the opening match of the 2017 Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Chambeshi’s team qualified automatically as hosts for the biennial youth championship but started preparations in July which culminated in winning the U-20 Cosafa Cup in December followed by a training camp in Spain in late January.
“Winning the first game of the tournament is always important,” Chambeshi said.
“For sure will be looking for a win because we prepared very well for this game. I am happy with the work my boys put in throughout our preparations. But we will not underrate Guinea because they are not a small team; we will respect them and I hope they will respect us too.
“We have the advantage of being hosts, which is good for us. A lot is expected of the team and I want to assure Zambians that we are ready. We will continue working hard because our objective is to go further than the group stage.”
Zambia will play Guinea before a capacity crowd at the National Heroes Stadium after the Local Organising Committee announced that opening day match tickets had been sold out.
Chambeshi said playing before a big home crowd was going to work in favour of his team, dismissing notions that young players would be intimidated.
“There is no way you can play football in a closed stadium. We expected that a lot of people would turn up. The boys understand the nature of football and since we started our training programme we have been telling our boys to expect to play before thousands of fans. Playing at home, the fans will be our twelfth player so I don’t think we will be intimidated. We have psyched the players very well.”
Zambia's match with Guinea will start at 15h00 CAT.