[By Bright Tembo]
ZAMBIA Under 20 national team will today lock horns with Amajita of South Africa in the COSAFA final at Nkoloma Stadium.
Going into the final, coach Osward Mutapa has called on the soccer fans not to pile pressure on the young side as it can have a psychological challenge to the team.
Mutapa says fans should also understand that there is a difference between Redbull Salzburg star midfielder Enock Mwepu and his younger brother Francisco who has so far scored four goals in the tournament that comes to close today.
“I want to appreciate the soccer fans for the support they have given us during the tournament. We want to see them in the final, what we want to see for the young boys, let’s lift them unlike where we discourage them,” he urged. “I think we have one in Francisco Mwepu, he has four goals so far. I don’t think even in any tournament you have a young boy scoring four goals at tournament and scoring in each and every game but what we do is boo him instead of encouraging him. He is not Enock Mwepu, differentiate the two players. He is a striker, his brother is a midfielder and he has scored in each game so fans should come encourage the boy.”
Mutapa adds that today’s game against the defending champions will be tough but that his boys will go for it.
“Every game has its own pressure. We played a mini final on Thursday against Angola. We take on South Africa, it’s about how we handle the pressure. Our aim was to reach the finals and we have done that, now we go for it,” said Mutapa.
Meanwhile, Angola coach Jose Jorge said he will not be surprised if Zambia wins the tournament.
“I won’t be surprised if Zambia wins the tournament because it’s an organised side which is very difficult to play against. So for me it won’t be a surprise if they win it at home,” said Jorge.
Zambia and South Africa clash in the final today at 15:00 hours, with the latter seeking a hat-trick of titles after they claimed wins in 2017 and 2018.
The bronze-medal match between Madagascar and Angola will kick-off at 11:30 hours. The Player of the Tournament will also be announced after the final, with the winner set to go on trial at Spanish second-tier side CD Numancia, an opportunity presented by COSAFA partner La Liga.