ZAMBIA’S female senior national team yesterday bowed out of the 2016 Africa Women Nations Cup when they were beaten 3-2 by their Zimbabwean counterparts at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
The Shepolopolo needed at least a 2-0 win in order to qualify following their 1-0 loss to Zimbabwe on Wednesday in what had popularly come to be known as the ‘‘Battle of the Zambezi’’ but fell short of realising that dream when Kudakwashe Basopo scored in the 6th minute to leave the Shepolopolo with a mountain to climb.
After the goal, Zambia came into the game and made a number of attempts at goal which never materialised.
However, it was Noria Sosala who restored parity when she found the equaliser for Zambia in the 22nd minute but while Zambia was still in a celebratory mood and were looking to score a second, the rear was exposed and it came as no surprise when Samkelisiwe Zulu scored for Zimbabwe in the 35th minute to lead the host by 2-1.
After half time, Zambia came back more reinvigorated and found the back of the net with 60 minutes played when Misozi Zulu curled in a short from the spot to level matters. The Shepolopolo continued their search for more goals with Sosala coming close to scoring a brace in the 64th minute through a free kick, forcing Zimbabwean goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai into a fine save, tipping the ball over the bar while the resultant corner could not materialise.
This prompted Zimbabwean coach Shadreck Mlauzi to make changes. He made two substitutions with 77 minutes played by introducing Felistas Muxongondi for Kudakwashe Basopo while Patience Mujuru replaced Eunice Chibanda. The changes seemed to have sparked Zimbabwe into life again as Emmacute Msipa added her name on the score sheet at the stroke of full time to condemn Zambia to a 3-2 defeat and qualified via a 4-2 goal aggregate.