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Chrispin Sakulanda @ SS com
Chrispin Sakulanda @ SS com

U-20 Afcon action returns to National Heroes Stadium

Action returns to Group A and the National Heroes Stadium on Wednesday in the on-going Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations when Egypt and Guinea lock horns at 15h00 while hosts Zambia will square off with Mali at 18h00.

The coaches of each of the four teams in the group were confident of victories as they faced the media on Tuesday.

Mandjou Diallo whose Guinea side lost to Zambia on Sunday said his team would be equal to the task against Egypt.

“We did not play a good game in the opening match but we hope to improve in our second match against Egypt. We expect to win so that we remain on course,” he said.

“The game against Egypt will be very important to us because we have to qualify to the next round.”

He added: “We know that we are in a group, we lost the game but that does not mean that we are out. We still have two games to play.”

Diallo said that his side had learnt from the Malians that played a compact game to stave off the Egyptian challenge.

“We will be equal to the task because we watched the game against Egypt although we cannot tell you exactly how we are going to approach the match but we will be ready,” he said.

Egypt played out a goalless draw with Mali and their assistant coach Ahmed Farouk said each of the four teams in Group A still had a chance to qualify to the semi finals.

“Zambia may have an advantage having won their first game, but all the teams in the group have an equal chance to qualify,” he said.

“We will do our best to win our match. Our aim is always to win the tournaments we participate in. We follow the example of our senior team.

“Guinea is a good side but we have watched their weaknesses and strengths and prepared for that. Our aim is to win the match.

The second match will see hosts Zambia take on Mali.

Zambia U-20 coach Beston Chambeshi is aware of the Malians pedigree and especially that his side has not won against the West African side in recent matches played in 2012 and 2015.

Chambeshi warned Mali not to underestimate Zambia in a match where a capacity crowd of 60,000 is expected to be in attendance.

"Mali is a good side, they have beaten us in the past but we have a new team that can upset the tables. Past records will not matter," Chambeshi said.

He added that his boys had been psyched to deliver maximum points before what could be another sell-out crowd.

“It is an important game for us; the whole country is looking at us to deliver. We are looking for a victory in tomorrow’s game,” he said.

And Mali coach Baye Ba will be aiming for victory against the hosts and hopes that his team will win the hearts of the Zambian fans.

"I know that the Zambian team is a great team but my team just has to win. Zambia got their three points against Guinea and we also got a point against Egypt so we will not worry about their points because they are not ours,” he said.

“We are not under any pressure because we drew against a good team which is Egypt. We are only focussed on our remaining games.”

We know that each time we have played Zambia Mali has come out on top but we will not look at that record when we play the match against Zambia,” he said.

He also said that the sell out crowd may be forced to switch allegiance if his lads stick to the plans the team has laid ahead of the game.

“You will see that the supporters of Zambia will change and start supporting my team so I am not worried,” he said.

Zambia will qualify for the semi-finals with victory over Mali while Guinea will be eliminated from the competition with a match to spare if they lose to Egypt.

Mali and Egypt victories will throw the group into a three horse race going into final round of group matches scheduled for March 4.







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