Voice of Sport

Zambia through to Sunday’s Final after extra-time win over South Africa

Senegal and Guinea meet in the second semi-final on Thursday in Ndola to decide who takes on Zambia in Sunday’s Final in Lusaka


2017 U20 Africa Cup of Nations:

Semi-finals:

Thursday, March 9:

(18.00, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola)

Senegal v Guinea

Wednesday, March 8:

(National Heroes Stadium, Lusaka)

Zambia 1-0 South Africa

(Edward Chilufya, 109’)

EDWARD Chilufya guaranteed hosts Zambia a place in the U20 Africa Cup of Nations Final scoring the match winner after extra time to edge South Africa in their semi-final clash on Wednesday in Lusaka.

A Prosper Chiluya free-kick glanced the head off Edward Chilufya past South African goalie Mondli Mpoto on 109 minutes for the only goal of the match.

The goal, brought the National Heroes Stadium in the Zambian capital onto its feet. It was to mean the first ever Final appearance for Zambia in the history of the biennial championship, started in 1977, but first as a U21 tournament before lowering the age in 2003.

Treble

For Zambia, it was even sweeter a victory because it was over one their biggest regional rivals, South Africa. Having beaten the Amajita [South Africa] twice in the last few months — 2-1 in the regional COSAFA U20 Cup and the same score line in a friendly — the Junior Chipolopolo [Zambia] were highly favoured to complete a treble but there was so much pressure to deliver and it told in the prolonged match on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, South Africa were rarely intimidated by the huge turn-out at the 60,000-capacity stadium, giving the host their stiffest test in the tournament thus far.

Cup winning coach

With a balanced defense, Amajita were the better side in the opening minutes, winning three corner kicks in succession by the quarter-hour mark. After a first half with no clear cut chance at goal, both teams resumed strongly and with former Zambia [2012 Africa Cup of Nations winning] coach Herve Renard in the stands, the Chipolopolo soon began to find their feet.

Enock Mwepu was unlucky to break the deadlock when a clearance by a South African defender bounced off his body only for the post to deny him. Just on the stroke of full time, Mpoto was on his side’s rescue with a superb save off a Patson Daka goal-bound shot to force the game into extra time.

Packed stadium

During extra time, Chilufya settled matter with a flicking header from Chilufya curling shot from a free-kick to send the crowd at the packed stadium onto the cloud nine.

Zambia will now play the winner of today’s [Thursday] other semi-final between Senegal and Guinea in Ndola in Sunday’s final, whilst South Africa faces the loser in the battle for bronze.


Man of the Match: Edward Chilufya
Reactions:
Beston Chambeshi, Head Coach, Zambia:

“South Africa caused us a lot of problems. They had a very good defensive organisation that prevented us from developing our attacks. Congratulations to them but I also say bravo to my players who did not give up and wanted to score to qualify before penalties. It was a very good match and either team could have won. For the final, we have no preference whatever the opponent we will play to win it.”

Thabo Senong, Head Coach, South Africa:
“Congratulations to Zambia… the match could have gone the other direction. Tonight, the two teams were close to each other and I told my players not to be afraid. We played well but it was Zambia that won. They are the tournament favourites and that’s why we did not hesitate to play against them towards having a good preparation for this tournament. All the games that will be played will serve as preparation for the players. I am proud of them and this team has made so much progress.”

….

Senegal v Guinea

(Thursday, 18.00, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola)

Pre-match comments:

Said, Joseph Koto, Head Coach, Senegal:
“The tournament started with eight teams, but is now reduced to four. [My] The team is prepared and there are no worries as far as the fitness of the players are concerned. We are done with the three matches at the group phase and now we have Guinea in front of us. We are 90 minutes away from the Final and as a team we are confident. Our objective remains one match after the other. We have a great deal of respect for Guinea, and the match will be decided on the pitch.

“We are grateful for the people of Ndola for the huge support shown us. It is therefore our wish to leave them (fans) with a good image as a souvenir, but we need their support more to reach the final.”

And Mamadou Diarra, captain, Senegal said:

“It will be a very difficult match and we are hoping to reach the Final for a second successive time. We are brimming with confidence. We are very ready and will do our best to get the desired result.”

Mandjou Diallo, Head Coach, Guinea:
“I expect a very difficult match because the two teams boast of talented players. They have great youth football projects and it will be very tough for either side. Senegal has exhibited great quality at this championship so far. At the group phase, they were 2-0 down against South Africa, and came back strongly to win the game (4-3).

 “I’m very happy with the progress of my team, which has shown great improvement match after match. The attack is also looking good. During the tournament opener against Zambia, we lost 0-1, then held Egypt 1-1 before beating Mali 3-2. However, the whole team needs to improve if we are to beat Senegal and reach the Final. I know my players are capable and we are working on their mental toughness ahead of the game.”

Zambia (starting) v South Africa:

  • Mangani:
  • S Mayembe
  • S Sakala
  • M Nyondo
  • P Chilufya:
  • E Banda
  • B Musonda:
  • E Chilufya
  • E Mwepu
  • F Sakala
  • P Daka
  • Additional reporting by cafonline.com