FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has challenged the Under-20 national team to make a statement on the pitch when they jet into Senegal for the 2015 Africa Youth Championship.
Addressing the team ahead of departure today, Kalusha told the players that they were a good assemblage and that they needed to do their best in every game.
“You are a very good team but people will not know that unless you make a statement on the pitch. So I expect you to do that when the tournament starts. I believe in you and you believe in yourselves and you will perform wonders,” he said.
Flanked by coach Hector Chilombo with his assistant Bilton Musonda and team manager, Daniel Jere, Kalusha said positivity was paramount for success at the under-20 tournament where the top four teams would qualify to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup finals.
He said the fact that Zambia qualified to the Africa Youth Championship meant that they were a good side and no team at the tournament should be looked at as being better.
“Always remember that you are young and still developing, so focus a lot on football and skill. Once you do that, success will follow you. So don’t look for success but just thrive on the pitch and you will see success follow you,” Kalusha said.
He said in football, an Under-20 was at the peak of development, hence the need for the players to make the best of all the football ideas that come to their heads.
“You are the guys who will qualify us to the 2017 Africa Cup and also to the 2018 Olympics so you need to understand what task is ahead of you and make us proud,” he said.
On the forthcoming Senegal games, Kalusha told the players to target six points.
He urged them to settle fast in the first game as it was key to making the semi-finals of the tournament.
Kalusha said six points would get Zambia through to the semi-finals which comes with a reward of going to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
The 1988 African Footballer of the Year, however, told the Lubambo Musonda-captained team that he believed they will deliver in Senegal.
Zambia is in Group B with Mali, Ghana and South Africa.
Chilombo’s charges will play the first game on March 9 against Mali before taking on Ghana three days later and end the group stage against South Africa on March 15.