Even before Zambia seals a quarterfinal place, Chipolopolo left-back Emmanuel Mbola is already basking in the accolade of being the youngest player at the 27th Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.
Born on May 10, 1993, the 17-year-old Mbola is in the spotlight with the media as journalists constantly ask the Zambia team media officer for interviews with the youngster.
Many pre-tournament international press previews gave Mbola little chance of performing at this highest level but the Europe-based young Zambian has defied the magnitude of the championship, rubbing shoulders with renowned world stars as he has helped Zambia to within just three points of the quarterfinals as the Chipolopolo prepare to take on Gabon on Thursday night.
He has been reserved and attributed everything to teamwork, hard work and the drive of the coach and inspiration of the FAZ chief, a former skipper of the national team and 1988 African Footballer of the Year.
“We’re here for the job of playing for our country; to do well and qualify from the group. Then we can enjoy the rest of the tournament. For now we’re focusing on Gabon and beating them. It’s just great to play for your country. I am humbled by this chance and my ability and thank God for his blessings,” the soft-spoken defender said.