The Zambia men’s U-20 national football team became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2017 Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations and in the process earned themselves a place at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in South Korea in May.
The Junior Chipolopolo’s achievement came after they recovered from a goal down to defeat Mali 6 – 1 in their second Group A match played at the National Heroes Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Mali had taken an early lead when Abdoul Karim Dante rose highest to head home from Moussa Djenepo’s corner in the 6th minute but Fashion Sakala equalized when he tapped home two minutes later following good work by Patson Daka.
Zambia went in front for the first time in the 25th minute when Emmanuel Banda fired home from long range and the advantage was increased in the 38th minute through Enock Mwepu who guided his effort home from the outside of his boot after he was set up by Edward Chilufya.
After the break Chilufya scored two quick fire goals in the 50th and 54th minutes before Sakala completed the rout with his second goal of the match in the 64th minute.
Zambia’s victory took them to 6 points, four better than Egypt who moved to 2 points after they played out a 1-1 draw with Guinea earlier at the same venue. Guinea and Mali are tied on 1 point apiece but the former occupy third position on the standings on goal difference.
The final Group A matches will be played simultaneously on Saturday March 4 with Zambia matching up with Egypt at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka while Mali and Guinea will square out at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola with kick-off scheduled for 15h00.