Zambia's youth stars step up to senior side at Cosafa Cup

Zambia's Nyondo
Nyondo is one of three Zambian Under-20 stars featuring for the senior national team at the Cosafa Cup in South Africa.

Zambia's Under-20 stars, called up to the senior national team, have expressed delight at being drafted into the squad for the southern African Cosafa Cup tournament.

Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda has named three players, Nyondo, Solomon Sakala, and Boston Muchindu.

Their inclusion comes after stellar performances for Zambia when, as hosts, they won the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations and followed up the triumph with a quarter-final elimination in the Fifa Youth World Cup.

Moses Nyondo, a defender with local side Nkana, says that the U-20 players called to the senior team would build on their success at junior level.

"I am happy that the coach has given me a chance to be part of the senior team. It is a dream come true to play for Zambia at senior level," Nyondo told BBC Sport.

"We are here to learn from those that have been there but also when we are here it means that we have a chance to be picked just like everyone else."

He expressed happiness at being welcomed by the players that had been part of the set up for a longer period.

"Some of the players here are from my club (Nkana) so I am not in a new environment. The plan now is to work hard and be part of the team permanently," he said.

Having played at the highest level at junior level, Nyondo gained the confidence to fit in at senior level.

"I played at the Africa Cup which we won and went to the World Cup where we did well. Now we have to look forward to doing better at senior level," he said.

Boston Muchindu
Boston Muchindu, another of Zambia's Under-20 stars, is also included in the senior team's Cosafa Cup squad

Nyondo's colleague Boston Muchindu said that the call up would help other players work hard as the door to the senior team was open.

"We have a duty to work hard and carry the form at Under-20 into the senior team. We are the future of the team," he said.

The Nkana midfielder said he was glad that Nyirenda recognized youth talent by blending it in the senior team.

"We have to work hard so that we open doors for other players at Under-20 that did well, we know that it is not just for ourselves but the whole group and the country," he said.

"In fact now we have to set a higher target not under-20 because that is behind us" Muchindu added.

The team selected will compete at the ongoing regional Cosafa Cup in South Africa.

Zambia play Botswana on Saturday in a quarter final at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg.

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