Edward Chilufya, the 2017 U20 AFCON winner and FIFA U20 World Cup quarterfinalist has declared the Under-20 team ready to defend the COSAFA U20 Cup on home soil.

Chilufya received a last minute recall to the team to replace fellow midfielder Niza Simutenda who sustained a fractured arm during the teams’ three-week training camp in Lusaka.

The midfielder from Swedish club Djurgardens trained with Zambia for the first time on Sunday in Kitwe after the team switched camp from Lusaka on the same date.

Zambia will face Uganda in their opening Group A match on Wednesday in a 17:30 hours kickoff at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.

Swaziland and Malawi are the other Group sides and will play in the tournaments opening game at 11h30 at the same venue.

“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 after Monday morning training at KPF in Kitwe.

Chilufya is the only 2017 U20 AFCON star eligible for COSAFA U20 Cup and the team’s battle next year to qualify and defend their African title that they won on home soil last March.

“Each and every player looks ready and from what I have seen they have put in a lot of effort in training,” Chilufya said.

“I have confidence in this team, they are looking very united and the spirit looks great in camp. Moreover, the players look motivated to emulate what we archived with my other Under-20 team mates this year.”

Zambia is hosting the COSAFA U20 Cup from December 6-16 on the Copperbelt.

All group matches and the semi-finals will be played in Kitwe at Nkana and Arthur Davies Stadium’s.

The final and 3rd and 4th playoff will be played at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on December 16.