UNDER-20 national team coach Oswald Mutapa says Botswana and Malawi have been a thorn in the flesh for his charges but hopes to pull out of the group stages as the 2019 COSAFA Championships takes centre stage.
As Zambia hosts 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championships staged in Lusaka, Mutapa brags of a clean bill of health going into the matches.
“So far the preparations are going on well, we have no injury worries. Last week we had but the two players that were injured are now better. We trained with a full squad,” Mutapa said.
He said he is looking forward to playing and winning the Junior COSAFA.
“ It’s a tough group but so far with the preparations that have been done, we will still pull out of the group and our aim is to take each match as it comes but first we to look at the group stage, come out of the group stage to the semi-finals and then hopefully go on and play the final,”he said.
Mutapa said with 10 of the players that have been with the team in the last two editions, he was optimistic that experience would rub off to the new faces.
“Botswana and Malawi are always difficult neighbours to play against. We are just from playing Under-17 Malawi and it was a difficult game but nearly each and every opponent is tough. Hopefully we can qualify from the group. I know Botswana and Malawi will be difficult. With the players that were there last year, I think we have 10; they should be able to guide their friends and give out that experience which they experienced in the previous two editions. It will be cardinal that they really help their friends and come out of the group stage and take each game as it comes. Last year we played the semi-final, hopefully we can play the final,” said Mutapa.
The tournament runs from December 4-14 at Nkoloma stadium./SM