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Africa Cup of Nations U-20 2017

Zambia Beats Senegal to Win Its Maiden U-20 Africa Cup of Nations

Zambia has won the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations after beating Senegal 2-0 at the Harare National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.

In a tournament where neither team had ever won before – Zambia finishing fourth on three occasions and Senegal finishing runners up in 2015 – the 2017 U-20 final, was an opportunity for either side to make history and join Africa’s finest ranked.

Zambia started slow but thanks to its ever commanding goalkeeper, Mangani Banda, the Young Chipolopolo were able to gradually settle into the game and eventually declared themselves by taking advantage of Senegal’s goalkeeping mistakes, to win the championship trophy for the first time.

Confidently growing in the game, Zambia pressed the Senegalese side further into their own half and eventually managed to convert from close range after a ball from Sakala was poorly handled by the Senegalese keeper, Lamine Sarr, who dropped it to allow Patson Daka the chance to take advantage and score the opening goal in the 17th minute.

The lead doubled in the 36th minute after playmaker Edward Chilufya saw a goalkeeping save deflect off him into the net to put the home side 2-0 up with Sarr to account for the error.

Both Daka and Chilufya proved ruthless yet again netting four respective goals in the tournament to show hopeful signs for Zambia’s football future.

On the other hand, Senegal started off well as they kept threatening the hosts’ defense with Niane coming close in the 8th minute but his weak shot went straight into Banda’s arms.

The Young Lions of Teranga who finished the group stages unbeaten, came back strong in the second half but Zambia’s keeper – Man of the Match – kept his cool to keep them out.

This is Zambia’s first appearance in the U-20 AFCON final, while favorites Senegal who lost the previous final to Egypt, has so far made it to two back-to-back finals all ending in defeats.

Zambia’s best ranked performance in the competition was finishing fourth in the 1991, 1999 and 2001 competitions.

Guinea will also be celebrating after beating South Africa 2-1 in the third place play-off.

All four finalists; Zambia, Guinea, South Africa, and Senegal have automatically qualified for FIFA’s Under-20 World Cup which will be hosted on May 20th to June 11th in the Republic of Korea.

The draw for the Under-20 World Cup will take place on Wednesday, March 15th.




Co-author: Daphine Kamurungi

Featured photo: CAF Images

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