By YVONNE SAKALA –
CHIPOLOPOLO coach Patrice Beaumelle has said he is ready to upgrade some of the promising Zambia Under-20 players into the local Chipolopolo squad.
In an interview after the under-20 team’s training session at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka yesterday, Beaumelle said he was ready to upgrade the Under-20 players into the locally based Chipolopolo as long as they show the hunger and ability to make it at the bigger stage.
He, however, said skill would have to be accompanied by high levels of discipline if the present Under-20 players were to excel in their footballing careers.
Beaumelle said his presence with the Under-20 team was meant to help impart football philosophy that the Chipolopolo proper was using which needed to trickle down to the lowest level of football in the country.
“So far, everything is going on well and it is exciting because we have all types of players, those from lower leagues as well as those playing the Super Division and others who are part of the senior local Chipolopolo.
“I am here to monitor them and if they impress me or meet my philosophy of work, I will take them into the local national team because if you are good, you are old enough,” he said.
Beaumelle expressed confidence that the junior Chipolopolo would be ready for the Africa Youth Championship qualifiers in May and get good results as the players were responding well to training.
“We have very good players in Zambia, but I think when we detect the talent, which is the first step, we have to work hard on it to build them into strong players and a strong team. That is our target for now.
“I am confident these boys will do their best to qualify for the African Youth. That is the target of us and put the name of the country on the World map,” he said.
The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winning Chipolopolo assistant trainer urged the players not to underrate any team they would face in the qualifiers as every country was working hard and there were no more small teams in the game.
And Under-20 assistant coach, Hector Chilombo said the players were responding well to training and that there was a lot of healthy competition in camp.
Chilombo said the technical staff called 44 players from which only 26 players would make the final team to play the qualifiers.
Zambia will play the winner between Mozambique and Namibia, and Chilombo expressed confidence that the players would perform according to expectations.
“So far so good the players are responding well to training and there is a lot of competition, our target is to qualify for the Africa Cup in Senegal from where teams qualify to the under-20 World Cup, we have been assessing the team and they are improving everyday.”