Zambia: FAZ president Andrew Kamanga has urged the Zambia U20 Women’s National Team not to be intimidated by DR Congo when the two teams meet in the 2024 Colombia FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup second round, second leg qualifier in Kinshasa on Saturday.
The two teams are tied 2-2 from the first leg heading into the reverse fixture after goals from Lydia Shamalima and Mary Mbewe were cancelled by goals from Ruth Nyamboki and Gloria Nosa, and Kamanga believes the team can fight for a third-round spot.
“As FAZ, we are very happy with the progress that the coaches and players are making. We had the first game on Saturday, and we were there to support you. Of course, we didn’t get the expected result, but that should not stop us from aiming high,” Kamanga told the players at Edwin Imboela stadium in Lusaka.
“We should not be intimidated; it’s just looking at the 90 minutes (in the second leg). In terms of tactics, that is your area as the technical bench; you will prepare the team. Do not relent; work extra hard; you have got an opportunity to be seen, excel and perform. Most of you have a chance to play for the senior team because very soon, some of you will be drawn into the national team.”
Kamanga assured the players and members of the technical bench of the Association’s maximum support throughout the qualification process.
“Our job is to support you and make sure that we give you everything; this is a good competition, if we can get to the World Cup, it will be good. As you know, the senior women’s team just came back from the World Cup, so it will be good for you to start your professional journey by going to the World Cup at U20, then you fight to go to the main one because then you have the experience to get there,” Kamanga said.
Coach Charles Haalubono rued the team’s chances but was happy with the corrections being made in training.
“We learned lessons from the previous game, most especially in front of goal. We are working on that, and we have kept on reminding the girls that we were supposed to score more goals. I am sure, sir, that we are going to do better on Saturday,” Haalubono said.
“We promise to go and work as a team in order to progress to the next round. Yes, we drew at home, but we have seen how they play, and we will work hard, win and come back a a happy team,” Captain Chitete Munsaka said.