Zambia has stepped up its preparation for this month’s African Youth Championship in Congo Brazaville by opening a 12-day camp in South Africa.Zambia which last graced the continental showpiece in Ghana in 1999 will begin its chase for the U-20 honours in a tough Group B pairing against Nigeria in Pointe Noire on January 21.
According to Zambian media, the Junior Chipolopolo will engage in friendly matches with South African top Premier League teams including Moroka Swallows and Bidwest Wits.
The match against the Swallows was expected to be played last night in Bedfordview while they will be matched against the Wits on January 11.
In addition, while on the tour, the Zambians could play Congo 2007 bound U-20 side of the Gambia which has also set up its trainning camp in South Africa.
The Zambians are expected to arrive Brazzaville on January 15 before heading for Pointe Noire to acclimatise to the humid conditions.
Coach George Lwandamina has already set his sight on the big battle against Nigeria, who are defending the biennal African silverware they won in Benin Republic in 2005.
Before the trip to the Rainbow nation, Lwadamina said that he was not losing sleep about the resolve of Coach Godwin Uwua to invite six foreign based players to beef up the Flying Eagles rank.
Uwua has invited Ezekiel Bala of FC Lyn (Norway), Simon Zenke (Strasbourg FC, France), Emmanuel Sarki (Chelsea,England), Olufemi Oladapo (Anderlecht, Belgium), Salihu Mohammed (Barcelona, Spain) and Sylvanus Azeka of Portsmouth in England to join the Nigerian squad currently on tour of Cotonou for the Congo 2007 challenge.
Lwandamina said he was not intimidated by the pedigree of the Nigerians who narrowly lost to Argentina in the final match at the World Youth Championship in Holland in 2005 promising the Flying Eagles big fight when the two sides meet in Pointe Noire.
“We don’t have foreign-based players so we have to make do with what we have. Besides, the players that I have have the vision. This is what will take the team forward. This team can withstand any pressure and produce the desired results,” Lwandamina told The Post of Zambia.
Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroon are in the Group B dubbed the group of death.
In the meanwhile, Cameroon which has been in camp since December 27 is expected to hit Congo on January 11 where they would play a friendly match with the hosts before the kick off.