The Zambia National Womens soccer team slipped in their bid to the Ghana 2018 CAF African Women Championship when they were beaten by a lone goal by Zimbabwe in the first leg of the qualifier played at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
The Shepolopolo started out the better team, putting together some neat passes and created some clear chances, but for poor finishing the game remained goalless.
However, in the 17th minute, the Lady Warriors broke the deadlock through Spanish based striker Ruthendo Makore after a defensive mishap between the Zambian goalie and her defense.
The Shepolopolo continued to dominate the game despite losing influential striker Barbara Banda in the 30th minute due to injury after a clash with an opposing player.
And speaking after the game, Shepolopolo coach Bruce Mwape expressed happiness with his team performance despite the loss.
“Personally, am not disappointed with the team. We tried very hard, our goalkeeper made a mistake were they capitalized,” said Mwape.
Mwape further indicated he had enough depth in his team to cover for injuries as well as switch tactics.
“We still have some players to take over Barbara’s position…We will try to adjust our tactics, we will go (to Harare) with a plan A and plan B,” Mwape said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda expressed joy over her team’s win, conceding Zambia to been the better team on the day.
“It’s always a tight contest when Zimbabwe plays Zambia. We struggled in the game but we managed to hold our shape defensively. Zambia was a better team and were unlike not to score,” Sibanda said.
And moving forward, Sibanda said she had noted some areas her team needs to improve on moving into the second leg.
“We have identified our weaknesses, we need cohesion because the players have not been in camp for long. We just need a few tactical changes,” Sibanda noted.
The return leg of the qualifier will take place on Sunday when the Lady Warriors host the Shepolopolo in Harare, with the winner over the two legs booking a place to the Ghana 2018 CAF Africa Women Championship in November.
Starting Line-up, Zambia: 16. Hazel Nali, 8. Margaret Belemu 18. Lweendo Chisamu. 5. Anita Mulenga, 13. Martha Tembo, 15. Prisca Chilufya, 17. Mary Mwakapila, 12. Rhoda Chileshe, 7. Misozi Zulu, 11. Barbara Banada 9. Rachael Kundananji
Starting Line-up Zimbabwe: 1. Chido Dzingirai 4. Nobuhle Majika 2. Lynett Mutokuto 8. Sheila Makoto, 9. Nobukhosi P Ncube, 10. Talent Mandaza, 5. Emmaculate Msipa 12. Marjory Nyaumwe, 6. Felistas Muzongondi, 15. Rutendo Makore , 7. Berita Kabwe