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Patrick Phiri @ SS com
Patrick Phiri @ SS com

Road to Korea 2017: Patrick Phiri's trail blazing 1999 class

With the Zambian squad gearing up for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, the Fazfootball.com media team gives the public an in-depth look into the unfolding story.

Fazfootball.com profiles stars that have been part of this U-20 story that saw Zambia grace the FIFA World Cup in 1999 and 2007.

Here we look back to the 1999 story:

NINENTY NINE was by any standards a low point in the Zambian game.

At the time the Zambian game had hit rock bottom. In 1998 alone the Chipolopolo were handed a first round ejection from the Burkina Faso Africa Cup in such embarrassing fashion as to fall 4-0 at the hands of Hossam Hassan’s Egypt.

To imagine that two years earlier, Zambia had been scoring goals for fun at the 1996 Africa Cup in South Africa but now lay on its knees was painful. At the 1996 Africa Cup Zambia had famously come from behind to humiliate the Pharaohs of Egypt 3-1.

But two years later the team was crawling with the football picture looking gloomy.

Add to that gloomy picture 1998 last round 3-0 embarrassing loss to South Africa in the World Cup qualifiers for France 1998.

It was in that spirit that 1999 dawned on the Zambian football mass with a World Cup appearance at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup hosted by Nigeria.

Coach Phiri had the task of restoring severely wounded Zambian pride at the Africa Cup with whispers of a possible renaissance of the Zambian game that lay on a death bed.

On went the show in Calabar as Zambia opened its FIFA account with a high scoring 4-3 match against Honduras. Goals on the day came through a Bernard Makufi brace, Gift Kampamba and Ronald Mbambara.

In the second match in Calabar the Andrew Sinkala captained junior Chipolopolo could not break the more experienced Spaniards who were to become the eventual champions.

The match ended 0-all but Patrick Phiri’s charges were still yet to lose a match at the FIFA showpiece.

It was all to end in pain as a Ronaldinho fired up Brazil crashed the junior Chipolopolo 5-1 after Sinkala had given the Zambians an early lead.

While this story may not have ended in fairly tale fashion somehow this was to be the highest honour this class brought to mother Zambia. Perhaps they could be among the best prospective team Zambia never had.

Zambia is in Group C alongside Portugal, Iran and Costa Rica.







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