Africa: TotalEnergies U17 AFCON – Zambia’s Bakala Upbeat Despite Loss

Zambia’s head coach Ian Bakala remains optimistic his side is still in contention despite losing their first match at the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), going down by a solitary goal to Nigeria in Constantine on Sunday.

Bakala says he saw a lot of positives from the match despite the defeat, and has praised his players for putting up a good fight.

“It is painful to lose a game like this, but it was a tough game. Credit to Nigeria for the win because they used their chance. When you are coming to the first game of the tournament, anything is possible,” Bakala said.

He says they were punished for mistakes they had in the game, but was not quick to fault his players as he says mistakes will always happen at this age.

“There is a lot to do and we will work on the mistakes in training. We will definitely change our story moving forward,” said the coach.

He added; “I am happy with how we have played because physically and tactically, we are in a good place. We looked much better in the second half and hopefully we can carry on that form to our next match.”

Zambia will take on South Africa in a COSAFA derby in their next match, a tie that they need to win to keep their hopes of progressing to the last eight alive.

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