Zambia FA boss keen to build on U-20 breakthrough

Zambia U-20
Zambia are the reigning African U-20 champions

Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga wants the under-20 team to form the nucleus of the future national team.

Zambia were eliminated from this year's U-20 World Cup in South Korea after a dramatic 3-2 defeat to Italy on Monday.

Although the Junior Chipolopolo came up short, Kamanga believes that they could be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

"I think the next stage is under-23 so clearly for under-23 we have built a very strong foundation," Kamanga told the BBC on Tuesday.

"I think we have an opportunity to start preparing the team for the 2019 Under-23 Africa Cup which will lead to the 2020 Olympics.

"As Football Association of Zambia, we are very proud of this team.

"It's a project we started last year when we came into office after some disappointing results with the senior team and the under-17.

"So, we put more effort into the under-20 with the hope of achieving something."

Kamanga, who took over as FAZ boss in March last year, said the U-20 team had set the stage for building a strong senior national team.

"It's given us more confidence, more impetus that we can build new teams as we go.

"We have to start looking at building a new under-15, a new under-17 and in earnest a new under-20 so that we have a clear program.

"Ultimately we want to have a strong senior national team but like everything else in life, you also need to prepare these boys and take them one step at a time."

The Zambians have now left South Korea and are expected to land at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

President Edgar Lungu described the team as "heroes because of their extraordinary spirit and unity of purpose they exhibited throughout the tournament."

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