Zambia has qualified to the semifinals of the 2017 COSAFA Under-17 Cup in Mauritius with a match to spare in Group B and coach Mumamba Numba has revealed the secret to the success at the tournament.
Zambia beat two-time champions South Africa 3-2 on Sunday in Port Louis in a penultimate Group B match to collect maximum points from their opening two games following Friday’s 7-1 hammering of Madagascar.
Lameck Banda took his tally to five goals after scoring a brace against South Africa in the 25th and 42nd minutes after captain Prince Mumba had put Zambia ahead in the 20th minute.
Banda’s goals came after he scored a hat-trick on Friday against Madagascar.
South Africa found the target through Junior Nare who scored twice with late goals in the 83rd and 88th minutes.
“We managed to utilize the chances that we had in the first half and that is where we killed off the game,” Numba said.
“By the time they came into the game in the second half, it was a bit too late for them.
“But otherwise, we played a better team. South Africa were tactically good but the only thing that they lacked was the fitness levels of their players.
“Because for us, that is where we concentrated on because we went around the country to pick the boys from the schools.
“We tried as much as possible to condition them and we gave them stronger training opposition like my team Zanaco, the club that I coach, that they played with in two friendlies so that we try and condition the boys for the challenge here.
“That has really helped the boys and that is why we have managed to win the two games that we have won so far.”
Zambia now face Mozambique on Tuesday to decide the top two status in Group B.
Mozambique are 3rd on 3 points but after downing Madagascar 2-0 on Sunday.
Second placed South Africa, who have 3 points, need to beat Madagascar on Tuesday to join Zambia in the July 28 semifinals.
Mauritius is hosting the COSAFA U17 Cup from July 21-31 for a second successive year.