SPORTS Minister Moses Mawere has urged the Zambia Under-20 national team to win the regional COSAFA title as a way of redeeming the country's battered pride following the senior national team's failure to qualify for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Mawere said the failure to qualify to the Africa Cup was painful to the Zambians who would be looking to the under-20 to put a smile back on the fans by winning the age-group title.
He said the Charles Bwale coached side should take advantage of being the host nation and work hard to win the tournament and make the Zambians happy again.
"We wish the boys good luck in this year's Cosafa that starts on Sunday. We urge Zambians to turn up in large numbers to support the team," Mawere said.
He said government had confidence in the U-20 team and their ability to deliver the title.
The team also shifted camp yesterday for the Copperbelt where the tournament would be played beginning this Sunday.
And Angola and Botswana yesterday arrived for the tournament.
And Government has urged the Zambian Region-Five bound athletes to win medals at the under-18 games set for Botswana.
Zambian athletes are expected to participate in the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region-Five games slated for Gaborone to run from December 7-16.
Mawere said Government remained committed to supporting all sports disciplines and ensure that athletes are provided with all necessary resources to get them ready both physically and mentally.
He said Zambia has won a lot of medals at the AUSC games in the past hence the need for this year's crop to better their past records.
"As Government, we want to encourage the athletes to go and work hard. Go win and bring medals back home. Our aim is to see more young talented athletes improving and competing professionally," he said.
Mawere said government had done its part by making sure that athletes are camped and provided with the required going into the games.
He said government will continue to expose athletes to international competitions and make sure they have adequate preparations
"Go there and bring us good results, we have given them the necessary support by camping them. We remain committed to supporting all sports disciplines. So go and win us medals," he added.
Zambia will be represented at the tournament in seven sports disciplines namely athletics, boxing, football, judo, netball, tennis and athletics for the visually impaired.