Zambia Under-17 Women’s team face Group A leaders, Venezuela in a must-win contest

Manuela Giugliano of Italy battles with Mary Wilombe of Zambia during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Group A match between Italy and Zambia at Estadio Nacional on March 15, 2014 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

AFTER a stuttering start to the FIFA 2014 Under-17 Women’s World Cup here, Zambia return to the battlefront this evening to face Group A leaders, Venezuela in a must-win contest.
Zambia gets back to business just some 48 hours after losing the opener 2-0 to fellow newcomers, Italy.
Despite little respite, coach Albert Kachinga need to find the correct formula and subdue a high-flying Venezuela side, fresh from thumping hosts, Costa Rica 3-0.
“We’ve seen Venezuela play, they are a good side. We expect a tough game. So we will just need to plan well. I hope the girls will perform to expectations,” Kachinga said in an interview.
But since Kenneth Zseremeta took over as Venezuela coach, La Vinotinto, as the side is known, have been giving their fans plenty to celebrate about and beating the junior She-polopolo this evening can be one such event.
Zseremeta guided Venezuela to the Under-17 South American championship and now is taking the 2014 World Cup as his next priority.
However, Zseremeta’s assistant, Jose Catoya said La Vinotinto were taking the Zambia match cautiously adding that despite their roaring start to the World Cup campaign, the junior She-polopolo still were not pushovers.
“This Under-17 competition is complicated because the players are young and you can’t determine what they are thinking. Both teams have equal chances of qualifying. We respect Zambia,” Catoya said.
After the loss to Italy in the first game at the Estadio Nacional De Costa Rica, Kachinga promised to ring some changes to his team before facing Venezuela.
“Against Venezuela, we will make a few changes but maintain the two central defenders. We will make just one or two changes to the team, “he said.
Kachinga’s forwards also need to come to the party today if Zambia is to remain in contention for a knock stage place here.
The Zambian coach is, however, keeping his finger crossed over the fitness of some of his key players.
Inspirational skipper, Ireen Lungu is a major doubt for this fixture after suffering a groin injury alongside striker, Penélope Mulubwa, who twisted her ankle in training.
Despite the injury concerns, Kachinga can still bank on the proficiency of Grace Chanda, Barbara Banda, Memory Phiri, Janny Mubanga, Martha Tembo and goalkeeper, Hazel Nali to get the desired result against Venezuela.
Zambia desperately wants to avoid heartache at the fourth edition of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup and not go down as the fifth consecutive African country to fail to reach the quarter-finals on the first appearance.
Venezuela, who set a modest target of reaching the second round as their minimum target, will rely on their Sharp-shooters, Deyna Castellanos, who scored a brace against Costa Rica and skipper, Lourdes Moreno.
Zseremeta has other trump cards in Gabriela Garcia, who racked up eight goals during the qualifiers, Yosneidy Zambrano, Daniuska Rodríguez and Priscilla Bermúdez.
The Zambia match is set to kick-off at 17:00 hours local time (01:00 hours Zambian time) and will be followed by another cracking tie between hosts, Costa Rica and Italy. Zambia’s final Group A match will be on March 22.

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