THE Zambia Under-23 soccer team today faces Nigeria in the second round, first leg of the All Africa Games qualifier in Abuja in what is a daunting affair for the Junior Chipolopolo Boys.
The Fighton Simukonda lads will be joining the campaign for a slot to Congo Brazzaville games after an automatic sail to the second round following Madagascar’s pulling out of the qualifiers.
Coach Simukonda will be going into this critical game against the West African football giants coming from a background of a hasty camping.
Simukonda summoned a 34 man squad to prepare for the qualifiers but most of his players were not available because of engagements at clubs and national levels.
The coach made his first call up when most clubs were having pre-season training while the Under-20 players were preparing for the Africa Youth Games.
Simukonda said the ball was now in the Under-23 hands to redeem Zambia from the losses that have characterized national teams. The Senior Chipolopolo, Under -17 and the Under-20 were booted out from their respective Africa Showpieces in the first rounds.
“We are now under pressure to deliver a good result from the game against Nigeria, it won’t be easy but we will put in our best,” said Simukonda
He said the team has prepared adequately for Nigeria with the main aim of winning the away match to enhance the chances of qualifying to the All-Africa Games.
“Our target is to win our away game against Nigeria so that when we host them at home for the return leg we will be finishing up our game plan,” Simukonda said.
Captain Toaster Nsabata said they were not intimidated by Nigeria’s good football record and were ready to defeat them.
Nsabata however admitted that their task will not be easy but will do everything possible to win and put the team in a better position to qualify.
“Our team is not shaken by Nigeria’s good record, we are going there to win or draw if things get to the worst,” he said.