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AFCON U-20: First match decisive, says Zambia coach Mbewe

Zambia U-20 national team head coach Chisis Mbewe do believe the Junior Chipolopolo Africa Cup of Nations match against Benin will be crucial in determining their fate in Egypt, and he hopes for victory.

Mbewe’s team will face the West Africans on Tuesday, February 21, followed by matches against Gambia and Tunisia.

Zambia qualified from the COSAFA region having won the U-20 COSAFA regional tournament with a 1-0 victory over defending champions Mozambique.

“We know there are 12 teams, all the teams are fighting for one common goal which is to qualify for the World Cup and win the AFCON which is not going to be easy. The most important thing is we have to stay focused and be able to fight and achieve our goals in this tournament,” Mbewe said in the prematch conference on Monday.

“I think all the teams will be tough, football being what it is, you just need to prepare, you need to be ready for any team.

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Junior Chipolopolo captain Dominic Kanda echoed his sentiments, who said that the first game is important and will be tackled seriously.

“Our expectation is qualifying for the world cup and then challenging for the cup,” he said.“The mood is high, everyone is doing fine, we are looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”

“The first match is always important; we just need to take it seriously because we must get the three points. It is very important to us as players.”

Coach Mbewe has bags of experience leading the Zambia U-20 to the 2022 COSAFA title. 

He has been in charge of the Junior Chipolopolo for just over a year, having been promoted from the U-15 national team and most of the players in the squad where most of the players passed through his hands.

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