UNDER-20 national team coach, Charles Bwale, says he is not disappointed with his side’s 3-0 loss to Burundi in the Niger 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final round return leg qualifier.
Burundi qualified to the Niger finals with a 3-1 aggregate.
Bwale said in an interview after Zambia lost that the result was not a reflection of what transpired on the pitch.
“I am not disappointed, my boys played well. I am only disappointed with the Burundi set up. The players are old, they are not under-20,” he said.
Bwale said the playing field in Burundi was not level as most of the Burundi players are over age.
“It’s like we were playing against a senior team. I think CAF should seriously look into the issue of age cheating,” he said.
Zambia won the first leg 1-0 in Lusaka but failed to repeat the feat in Burundi.
Bwale said age cheating is the reason why African teams fail to tick at the World Cup.
“This is an under-20 competition and we are building for the future. If you get players that are over 30 to play in the under-20 competition, what are you building? That is why African teams don’t do well at the World Cup. We need to build for the future,” he said.
“The boys played well, I am not disappointed. Our biggest plea is for CAF to be a bit serious on age cheating because if you look at Burundi, it’s like we were playing a senior national team. I am disappointed with Burundi set up.
As Zambia, we went in to the competition clean. We had to work out on the issue of age cheating, we were scrutinised and we did our best but the competition is not even. The officiating was also somehow poor and looked intimidating to the boys,” he said.
Bwale said Zambia has a foundation and that most of the players will be eligible to play in the under-20 squad in 2021.