UNDER-23 national soccer team coach Fighton Simukonda has drafted Lumwana Radiants sensational midfielder Gozon Mutale to beef up the squad preparing for the 2015 Confederations of African Football (CAF) U-23 tournament to be hosted by Senegal later this year.
Mutale excelled on Sunday in the Barclays Cup quarter final match against Zanaco where he walked away with the K1000 man of the match award, attracting the interest of the national technical bench.
Simukonda told reporters yesterday at the Heroes Stadium after the morning workout with the junior Chipolopolo that he will give a chance to all players who had talent to prove themselves.
He said Mutale had attracted the technical bench after showing flashes of individual brilliance despite the Lumwana Radiants being bundled out of the K2.2million rich Barclays Cup.
“We saw him playing and we saw that he is a good player and, we want to give him a chance to prove himself. We will give a chance to everyone,” Simukonda said.
And Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said Mutale’s inclusion in the team was as a result of his outstanding performance against the bankers.
“I think you all saw how the boy played against Zanaco and it was after watching him that the technical bench decided to draft him in the team because the coaches want to give everyone a chance. It was important that they give him a chance so that they could have a closer look at him. Of course the boy impressed them,” Tembwe said.
Meanwhile, Friday Samu yesterday sat out of training due to a toe strain which Tembwe said the medical team had indicated was not serious.
“Friday Samu did not take part in training due to a toe problem which they (medical) team said was manageable.
He is at the stadium but did not take part in the training session,” he said.
COSAFA rivals South Africa and Zambia have been drawn with hosts Senegal and Tunisia in Group A of the African U-23 Championship, which will run from 28 November to 12 December 2015, with the top three teams qualifying to represent Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The junior Chipolopolo fancy finishing in the top three and making it to the Rio Olympics after a 27-year hiatus since 1988 where the team registered a memorable 4-0 rout of Italy.