Hosts Zambia’s defence of the COSAFA U20 Cup has been given a massive lift with the inclusion of 2017 U20 AFCON winner Edward Chilufya.
The 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup quarterfinalist is the only member of the class of 2016 that won both the African and regional titles back in the team.
Chilufya, of Swedish club Djurgardens, replaces midfielder Niza Simutenda who withdrew from the team due to injury.
The 18-year old joined camp in Kitwe on Sunday when the team arrived from Lusaka where they had held a three-week training camp.
“He is the only player still eligible to play in the next U20 AFCON qualifiers so he is part of this team,” Zambia U20 coach Mumamba Numba said after Monday morning training in Kitwe.
“We thought that since he was in the country, and we had an injury, we needed to replace someone that is why we brought him to join his colleagues.”
And Chilufya said he was very excited to be back helping the junior cause.
“We are ready, we have prepared well for the tournament and we need to win our opening game because the result will set the tone and determine whether we will reach the final and retain our title,”Chilfuya said.
Zambia are in Group A with Uganda, Malawi and Swaziland.
Numba’s side will face Uganda in their opening Group A match on December 6 in a 17h30 kickoff at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
Kitwe will host all the group and semifinal matches at both Nkana and Arthur Davies Stadiums.
The 2017 COSAFA U20 Cup final and bronze medal match will be played on December 16 in Ndola at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.