STRIKER Kabange Mupopo has been axed from the final 18-member national women football team list to face Namibia at Nkoloma Stadium on Sunday in the African Women Championship (AWC) first round, first leg qualifier due to a tight athletics schedule.
Coach Albert Kachinga said Mupopo had a busy athletics schedule and they do not want to jeopardise her athletics career.
“Unfortunately Mupopo is not part of the squad because she is busy with athletics international engagements. This week she is expected to travel to South Africa, and immediately she returns, she has another international meet in United States. So we do not want to jeopardise her athletics career.
“In as much as we would love her to be part of the team, I think Mupopo has been doing very well in athletics and felt she needed to concentrate. She is a great player and a part of the team,” Kachinga said.
Mupopo won the 400 meters gold medal at the 2015 African Games and is preparing for the 2016 Olympics set for September in Brazil.
Kachinga said the team is technically and tactically ready to face Namibia in Sunday’s encounter at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium.
“Our primary objective was to bring the team to a level which is acceptable in terms of competition. I can confidently confirm that we have achieved the target.
The team is ready for the game against Namibia on Sunday.
“The team doctors declared the team injury-free and in good shape for the challenge.
The team is now looking forward to the game. We wait and see what happens on Sunday,” he said.
Kachinga said the five players that were not on the final team list will still be part of the squad.
“We have picked 18 players out of 23 for the final team. But the players that have not made the final team will continue with the team from now (yesterday) to Sunday because we don’t know what setback the team could face,” he said.
He announced that the team will be captained by Annie Kibanji of Green Buffaloes and assisted by Emeldah Musonda.
He said he has included six players that participated in the 2014 U-17 Women World Cup in Namibia to add experience to the team.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said the grand stand is pegged at K50 while the open wing will be free which is aimed at popularising women sport.
The final team has goalkeepers: Hazel Nali (Nchanga) and Chiko Nkhoma (Red Arrows)
Defenders: Anita Mulenga (GBFC), Annie Kibanji (GBFC), Martha Tembo (Chibolya), Emeldah Musonda (Red Arrows), Jane Chalwe (Zesco) and Grace Zulu ( Indeni).
Midfilders; Esther Mukwasa (Moba), Mary Wilombe ( Red Arrows), Ireen Lungu (GNFC), Barbara Banda ( BUSA), Rhoda Chileshe (Zesco), Mary Mwakapila (BUSA) and Misozi Zulu (NAZ).
Strikers: Grace Chanda (Zesco), Hellen Mubanga (BUSA) and Noria Sosala (Indeni)