3 July 2018 – Zambia coach Oswald Mutapa has named a provisional squad of 25 players for the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship as the side seeks to defend the title they won last year. The competition will once again be played in Mauritius from 19 – 29 July and has added significance this year as it is a qualifier for the 2019 African Under-17 Championships in Tanzania.
Mutapa has been tasked with repeating the success of 2017, when Zambia stormed through the competition to beat Mauritius 3-0 in the final and collect their first regional crown. The coach has selected a number of players barely in their teens, including 13-year-old defenders Samuel Banda and Lingson Banda.
The oldest player in the squad is 16-year-old defender James Mvula.
Mutapa will have to drop five players to make his final list of 20 for the competition, which will be a tough decision for him over the coming weeks.
All players competing in Mauritius must undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in order to determine whether they fit the criteria to compete in the U17 tournament. Zambia fell foul of these rules in 2016 when two players, Nicholas Mulilo and Benjamin Phiri, failed the MRI examination and the side was disqualified after the group stages.
The Zambians have been handed a tricky group in 2018 with fellow regional heavyweights South Africa, Mozambique and Lesotho.
Only the top team in each pool and the best runner-up advance to the semifinals.
Zambia provisional squad:
Geoffrey Mukabe, Abraham Phiri, Jonathan Phiri
Isidore Banda, Morgan Botha, Billy Maipenzi, Issah Kazembe, Samuel Banda, Kayumbwa Mubita, Lingson Banda, James Mvula
Muunda Phiri, Abraham Museke, Richard Thole, Nelson Simulilo, Lasmond Phiri, Kelvin Mwanza, Alex Mwiinga, Enock Thole, Kangwa Chanda
Felix Sinkamba, Enock Sakala, Oliver Chisenga, Vincent Kalinda, Ricky Banda