Goalkeeper Bradley Mweene is now very motivated after impressing in Zambia U23’s final 2019 U23 AFCON game on Friday against Cote d’Ivoire in Egypt.
Zambia may have lost the match 1-0 on November 15 in Cairo but the University of Pretoria FC goalkeeper was a reassuring figure between the posts after starting ahead of first-choice Mangani Banda who was dropped after disappointing in a 3-1 loss to Nigeria in their penultimate Group B match on November 12.
The South African-based Mweene has come through the ranks and was first-choice in Zambia’s debut triumph in the 2017 COSAFA U17 Cup they won under Mumamba Numba.
“The guys made me feel at home and there wasn’t any pressure and was made to feel at home by the guys and the bench. It was also great to be playing with great players (like Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu),” Mweene said.
“As for the tournament, we didn’t expect to go home so soon because we set a very high bar for ourselves.”
Zambia finished bottom of Group B with 1 point while Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa advanced to the semifinals on 6 an 5 points respectively.
Defending champions Nigeria bowed out in third place in Group B on 4 points.
Zambia’s exit brought to an end the Class Of 2017 Project fairy tale who had won the 2017 U20 AFCON at home and also lifted Zambia’s last COSAFA U20 Cup crown in December 2016.
“I just have to keep on working hard and learning because there is a saying that goes a champion never stops a learning process,” Mweene said.
“I will now keep pushing for more opportunities at the club because now the level has risen. I now also have the challenge to work harder to get a senior team call-up because the next time the Under 23 assignment will come along, I will be 24.”