The U-15 National soccer team has arrived in Croatia ahead of the Vlatko Markovic invitation tournament scheduled to run from 23-27 September this year.

The team had camped in Cairo, Egypt for three days but left that country for the final destination, Croatia, yesterday.

The 23-man squad is in group B, and will clash against Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Romania.

The U-15 squad was selected via the countrywide national selection process that lasted close to a month.

National team coach Chisi Mbwe is hopeful that he is shaping up future footballers who would represent the country at senior level.

In an interview prior to departure for Croatia, Mbewe said the tournament was a great motivation for the lads as they take up the mantle to be Zambia’s future Chipolopolo boys.

“The tournament is a great motivation for these young kids and again for Zambia to be competing at these early stages in such age groups. It was a good outing though the much-anticipated match [against Zamalek] did not take place, reason being our opponents did not take the COVID-19 clearance for the match,” said Mbewe.

“Nonetheless, we went into training. We had two days training with the boys, the boys are in high spirits and are looking forward to the tournament. There has been so much team work with the boys and they are getting to know each other very well, and there are only a few areas where we need to work on which I feel the boys have already responded so well. First game is against Macedonia and this is the game the players have been looking forward to. I feel this is the game where we need to be cautious from the first whistle and be able to study our opponents since it’s the first match.”

The Vlatko Markovic tournament is aimed at shaping up the junior teams so that they mature into the senior squads and transition easily.