As Junior Chipolopolo take on Malawi
The journey that was started around 2016 with a blurry of youngsters seemingly has continued. And in the driving is our own Quicksilver Beston Chambeshi.
It’s a team of boys that he been in familiar territory before with. But this time they are older and wiser.
That team that we affectionately called the Under 20, have since graduated to the under 23 level and will this afternoon take on Malawi Under 23 in the road to the 2020 Olympics to be held in Japan 2020.
Before Japan, there is also a tournament of Africa’s under 23 which to be held in Egypt next year.
That’s were I come in today to answer some of the questions that I have seen being asked around qualification to the Olympics.
AFCON UNDER 23
The Africa U-23 Cup of Nations for 2019 will be held in Egypt and its the 3rd edition of the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations, this quadrennial (takes place after four years) is an international age-restricted football championship organised by CAF basically preserved for players below the 23 year old mark.
Take note that Zambia was on bye for the first round when Malawi was in battling against Botswana to qualify to this afternoon bout.
Malawi booked a date with Zambia after a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Botswana, before rectifying their misdeeds to qualify 3-2 on aggregate following a 2-1 away win in Gaborone on November 17.
The winner between Zambia and Malawi game will move into the final qualifying round next June to face DR Congo, Tanzania or Burundi to decide who qualifies to the Egypt finals.
The tournament will be held between 8th to 22nd November 2019.
QUALIFICATION TO THE 2020 OLYMPICS
The 2019 AFCON Under 23 will be used as a qualifier for the Japan 2020 Olympic Games. Top three finishers at the Egypt finals will qualify to the Olympics.
Remember , Zambia last participated at the Olympic Games in 1988 where they famously reached the quarterfinals. After drawing 2all with Saudi Arabia, beating Guatemala 4nil and dispatching fancied Italy 4nill. Before losing to Germany in the round of 8.
THE ZAMBIAN TEAM
Without a doubt shoukd be favourite to qualify ahead of Malawi as they are using a team that has been together over period.
This is the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup winning side who were elevated to take up the U23 campaign and will be expected to qualify to the Tokyo Olympics after this AFCON.
By any measure the pressure is on these boys as they have the necessary experience having played at Afcon tournament and World Cup.
But for us to make to the Olympics, the Journey should start today in Malawi and reduce the pressure of playing at home after a bad result in Blantyre.
MALAWI EXCELLENT PREPARATIONS
Malawi who knows this team very well have had the best of preparations and hence clear indication that this won’t be a walk in the park for the Junior Chipolopolo.
I hope you are now clear of what these games mean and what Zambia needs to do make it to Tokyo in 2020.