Midfielder Joseph Sabobo Banda scored a hat-trick for Zambia as they thumped Malawi 6-2 to book their ticket to the 2021 Morocco Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations tournament.
Sabato, who emerged the man of the match, scored his first goal from a free-kick in the 11th minute before adding his second in the 44th minute when he perfectly found the space leaving Malawi keeper Justice Mhone with no chance.
In between Sabobo’s first two goals, striker Rickson Ng’ambi scored a wonder goal in the 16th minute in a match that was largely a one-sided affair at Gelvandale Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
George Chilufya’s boys came back hungrier in the second half and extended the lead through Charles Majapa Mumba in the 46th minute followed by Sabobo’s third and Zambia’s fifth two minutes later.
Malawi striker Chifundo Mphasi scored a brace but Zambia defender Teddy Khumalo had the last say when he shot remarkably well from outside the box to ensure a 6-2 final score.
Young Chipolopolo coach George Chilufya shared his joy of qualifying to the Africa Cup with a game to spare, which was one of the two targets set by the technical bench.
“There is no time to relax, we need to remain focused because we came here for two things; to qualify to the Africa Cup and defend the COSAFA title which is a very big task, we need to make sure that we go back home with a trophy,” Chilufya said.
It will be the second time that Zambia will be participating in the continental showpiece having made their first appearance in 2015.
The match against Malawi was the second at the 2020 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship in Port Elizabeth, and it came after Zambia’s 2-1 win over Angola while Malawi drew 2-2 with hosts South Africa.
Zambia’s next match is on Thursday against South Africa while Malawi will face an Angola side which lost 2-1 to the hosts.