Zambia’s U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) debut ended in a 1-0 loss to the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria, but head coach Ian Bakala is optimistic about his team’s chances of advancing beyond the group stage.

Zambia lost to the two-time African champions on Sunday as a result of Daniel’s strike in the 76th minute.

Coach Bakala believed the game had many positive aspects despite the result and praised his players for their bravery.

The coach revealed that he has made his young players pay for their errors, but he felt that the players did their best giving their level of experience in the game.

“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,” the coach told CAFOnline.

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

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.”

As it stands in Group B, if Nigeria beat Morocco at 17:00 (5 PM WAT) on Wednesday, the Golden Eaglets would automatically qualify for the next round of the competition with a game in hand.

On the other, Zambia’s next encounter is against South Africa, which they must win to maintain their chances of qualifying for the round of eight.

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