SHEPOLOPOLO today begin the quest to win a maiden COSAFA senior challenge when they open the tournament with a game against Lesotho in South Africa. Coach Beauty Mwamba will be hoping for a better start to the tournament to convince her employers and the nation that she is the right person for the job.
Zambia, who have been drawn in Group B, will take on Lesotho at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth while guest Cameroon will entertain Mozambique in an early kick off at the same venue.
Zambia will be hoping to better last year’s performance that saw them finish third after losing the semi-finals.
“The team is very much ready. The girls are ready, we need the three points to get out of the group stages. Our eyes are on the three points. We will take each game as it comes, we will do our best we just need the support,” said Mwamba.
Zambia may have an upper hand but Lesotho proved they can also bite when they beat Namibia 2-1 in a group encounter last year, against all odds.
Lesotho have been regular competitors at the COSAFA Women’s Championships since the first tournament played in 2002.
Lesotho’s performances have been improving steadily since they suffered the heaviest defeat in the history of the tournament at the hands of then hosts Zimbabwe.
They were close to semi-final qualification in 2011 when they beat Mozambique 3-2, but lost to Malawi in their play-off decider.
Experienced goalkeeper Hazel Nali is expected to start in goal while defenders Martha Tembo, Margaret Belemu and Lushomo Mweemba are expected to start.
In midfield, Zambia has match stealth Barbra Banda, Misozi Zulu, Rhoda Chileshe and Hellen Nga’ndwe while Theresa Chewe may start up front depending on Mwamba’s game plan.