The Zambia men’s Under-20 national football team became the first team to qualify for the semifinals of the 2017 Total Ujder-20 Africa Cup of Nations and in the process earned themselves a place at the 2017 Fifa Under-20 World Cup to be held in South Korea in May.
The Junior Chipolopolo’s achievement came after they recovered from a goal down to defeat Mali 6-1 in their second Group A match played at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, on Wednesday evening.
Mali had taken an early lead when Abdoul Karim Dante rose highest to head home from Moussa Djenepo’s corner in the sixth minute but Fashion Sakala equalised when he tapped home two minutes later following good work by Patson Daka.
Zambia went in front for the first time in the 25th minute when Emmanuel Banda fired home from long range and the advantage was increased in the 38th minute through Enock Mwepu, who guided his effort home from the outside of his boot after he was set up by Edward Chilufya.
After the break Chilufya scored two quickfire goals in the 50th and 54th minutes before Sakala completed the rout with his second goal of the match in the 64th minute.
Zambia’s victory took them to six points, four better than Egypt who moved to two points after they played out a 1-1 draw with Guinea earlier at the same venue.
Guinea and Mali are tied on one point apiece, but the former occupy third position on the standings on goal difference.
The final Group A matches will be played simultaneously on Saturday, March 4 with Zambia locking horns with Egypt at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka while Mali and Guinea will square off at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola