UNDER-23 national team skipper Toaster Nsabata says qualification to the Olympic Games football tournament is long overdue.
Nsabata said in Lusaka yesterday that Zambia has waited for so long to return to the Olympics and the current squad is determined to end the 27-year wait.
Zambia last qualified for the Olympic Games football tournament in 1988 where the Kalusha Bwalya-inspired national team reached the quarter-finals.
Nsabata is optimistic the current squad has enough ammunition to make a berth at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro showpiece.
“This is a chance for us to qualify to the Olympics. We were not there the last time Zambia qualified. This is our chance to make history and we are all determined to do just that. All my colleagues in camp are training hard. There is determination from everyone,” the Zanaco custodian said.
Vice-captain Salulani Phiri said Zambia’s group at the Senegal Africa Under-23 Championship is tough and called for adequate preparations.
Zambia are in Group A alongside South Africa, Tunisia and hosts Senegal.
Phiri, however, said all the players are putting in their best and are focused to achieve the team’s objective of qualifying for the Olympic Games.
“The Africa Championship is a big tournament and all the teams we are facing are tough. We just have to work hard. Our objective of qualifying to the Olympics will never change,” he said.
The team thumped Division Two side K-Stars 10-0 at National Heroes Stadium.
Bruce Musakanya, Shadreck Malambo, Kelvin Mubanga, Patson Daka and Noble Ramsey were on target for the junior Chipolopolo.
Meanwhile, under-20 national team coach Chris Kaunda is impressed with competition exhibited during the Airtel Talent Search in Western Province.
Kaunda said in Mongu yesterday that the talent exhibited by the under-20 men and women is encouraging.
“The level of competition exhibited by the young boys and girls in Western Province is impressive,” he said.
And Division One (South) Mongu Youth Academy coach Mulonda Zambwe has commended the Football Association of Zambia for its efforts in uplifting the standard of the sport in rural areas.
“Previously such initiatives were limited to the line of rail. But now we have seen this programme going to most places of our country. It is incumbent now that all clubs can take up this programme and start developing boys and girls in communities,” Zambwe said.