The Zambia Under-17 Men’s National Team’s mission to defend the COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship will continue after organisers have confirmed that all the 20 players have passed the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests.
The tests, which were conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), were aimed at checking the eligibility of players for the junior championship.
FAZ Technical Director Lyson Zulu, who is leading the Delegation in Port Elizabeth told the FAZ Media team that with the latest development, all Group A and B matches have been quashed with a new fixture schedule released for round-robin matches.
Zulu said according to article 8 of the 2020 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship rules and regulations, teams that fail the tests are sanctioned based on the findings.
“I think that this goes to all the work that has been done by the different coaches that we have used to select these players from the different leagues that we run in the country,” Zulu said.
Article 8 states that “In the event that a participating team has one or more players
who do not pass the MRI test for eligibility, then the applicable team will be disqualified and will have to return home as soon as is practically possible.”
Apart from Zambia, the other teams that will remain in the tournament are hosts South Africa, Angola and Malawi while the disqualified teams are Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.
The new fixtures will see George Chilufya’s side take on Angola on Sunday before playing Malawi two days later. They will wrap-up their round-robin fixture against the hosts on 26 November.
The two teams after the revised fixture schedule will qualify to the championship finals as well as the 2021 Morocco Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations while the third and fourth placed teams will fight for the tournament’s third and fourth.
Zambia opened the 2020 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship campaign with a 2-0 win over Comoros courtesy of goals from Charles Majapa and Joseph Sabobo Banda.