Road to Tokyo 2020: Could it be Zambia’s time to shine?

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Over 30 years have passed since the Zambian flag flew at the Olympic Games with the last appearance having been in 1988 in Seoul.

Every other time the Zambian team has taken the Olympic qualification route, there has always been whispers about the 1988 quarterfinal finish.

Successive attempts have ended in failure, but the current crop of Under-23 squad gives rise to hopes that Tokyo 2020 may just be the moment that Zambia turns a corner.

What with the success of the under-20 class of 2017 that conquered Africa and reached a historic FIFA World Cup quarterfinal finish.

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has retained the core of the U20 AFCON winning bench under Beston Chambeshi with the bulk of the players eligible for selection. Just in case you have forgotten the galaxy of all conquering youngsters had Fashion Sakala (KV Oostende-Belgium) , Patson Daka (Redbull Salzburg-Austria), Emmanuel Banda (Avenir Sportif-France) , Edward Chilufya (Djurgardens-Sweden), Enock Mwepu (Redbull Salzburg-Austria), Mangani Banda (Zanaco), Shemmy Mayembe (Zesco) and Prosper Chiluya (Nkwazi).

FAZ has given the team early preparations for the first hurdle in the form of the junior flames of Malawi who will host Zambia on March 20 before the reverse fixture four days later.

Coach Chambeshi may have extra motivation having played at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and could just inspire his charges to shine in Tokyo next year.

Maybe for now Zambia has to focus on sweeping Malawi out of the way and later tackle either Congo Brazzaville or Burundi in the final qualifying round.

Eight teams across the continent qualify to the Egypt 2019 AFCON in November where the top three teams will automatically qualify to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The fourth placed team will be involved in a playoff with an Asian side.

Courtesy of Fazfootball

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