Leone Stars U23 Coach Amidu Karim has expressed strong optimism ahead of his second leg-clash with Zambia despite his first-leg draw at the SKD

“The boys performed well in Liberia despite the draw. I’m optimistic that we will win and qualify in Zambia,” Coach Karim told Footballsierraleone.net

“I am pleased with the overall performance of the team and the foreign-based players – they played well, but Emmanuel Samadia remains a doubt for the return match [in Lusaka] as the rest will be part of the squad.”

The Sierra Leone U23 National Team had a 1-1 draw against Zambia on Saturday in their TotalEnergies U23 AFCON penultimate round qualifier played at the SKD Stadium in Monrovia Liberia.

A penalty for each side in the second half settled the first leg of this see-saw contest . Sierra Leone tried very hard to finish the game with a home win led by prolific forward, Alie Zonzi Conteh who converted a spot-kick to put Sierra Leone ahead of Zambian in early second half of play.

However, Mashata won a late penalty in the 88th minute after he made a telling overlapping run for the Zambians.

Joshua Mutale then stepped up to convert the spot-kick to give Zambia a critical away goal to take in their October 29 final leg at National Heroes Stadium.

Evidently, it was not the result Sierra Leone expected.However, the Leone Stars U23 Squad appears to be focused and resilient going into the return leg on the 29th October in Lusaka, Zambia.