Under-20 national soccer team coach Ernest Mtawali believes Blue Eagles’ marksman Schumacher Kuwali will be the key in the task to turn the tables against Zambia on Saturday and achieve the 2015 Africa Youth Championship qualification dream.
Kuwali and Big Bullets midfielder Moses Scott are the only two new inclusions to the squad that is scheduled to fly out to Zambia’s capital Lusaka this morning.
The Junior Flames go into the second leg with their backs to the wall having lost their first leg 1-2 at home a fortnight ago.
“Honestly, I wish we had this chap before the first leg. I believe he was the missing link. Unfortunately, I did not know about him.
“We needed a lethal striker to complement Chawanangwa (Kawonga) who has been fighting a lone battle upfront. Precious Msosa is another striker who takes on defenders and is able to score, but he is still learning the ropes,” said Mtawali soon after taking his charges through the morning training session yesterday.
Msosa has replaced Khumbo Ng’ambi who is not in the travelling squad.
“Schumacker is a complete package with all the absolute essentials of a lethal forward and I am absolutely certain he will add value to the team,” said Mtawali.
Kuwali is among the leading scorers in the Super League with six goals, four short of joint leaders—Kumbukani Mwambene and Deus Nkutu.
Mtawali said he is confident his squad can turn it all around in Lusaka come Saturday.
“If I had any doubts, I would not be catching a flight to Lusaka tomorrow, I would have taken a bow.
“But the determination and hunger shown by these boys have given me reason to believe. It’s not going to be easy to win away this time around because we are playing a totally different team, but I have not thrown the white flag,” said Mtawali.
He also said in the event that they lose, he would accept that they were up against a better side.
And speaking in a separate interview, Kawonga said they are optimistic about turning the tables.
“We’re down, but don’t count us out yet. We will fight our lungs out in the return match.
“We didn’t play well in the first leg and we have to make it up for that in the second leg; otherwise, it will be very painful to fail at the last hurdle considering where we have come from,” said Kawonga who is the Junior Flames leading scorer in this campaign with four goals from four games.
He also scored in the friendly match against South Africa’s Amajita which the Junior Flames won 1-0 away in Johannesburg.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said the team will be led by FAM executive committee member Jabbar Alide and that all the logistics surrounding their trip have been finalised.
Following is the full delegation: Team leader: Alide, Technical panel: head Coach Mtawali, assistant coach Gerald Phiri, gaolkeeper trainer Sibusiso Padambo, team doctor Levison Mwase; Players: Brighton Munthali, Dalitso Makunganya, Lovemore Jere, Miracle Gabeya, Suwedi Limbani, Boston Kabango, Trevor Kalema, Stanely Sanudi, Dalitso Sailesi, Mathius Nyirenda, Isaac Mwale, Ernest Tambe, Abraham Kamwendo, Isaac Kaliati, Scott, Msosa, Kawonga and Kuwali.