SHEPOLOPOLO head coach Bruce Mwape says the team’s performance would have been better if striker Barbra Banda played at the AWCON in Ghana.
On Saturday, holders Nigeria ran riot against Equatorial Guinea to book their place in the semi-finals of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana as South Africa sealed their place from Group B with a draw against Zambia.
In Accra, South Africa started well and their pressure was rewarded thanks to another wonderful strike from Thembi Kgatlana.
A ball over the top of the Zambia defence found its way to her and she thrashed the ball past an almost motionless Natasha Nali in the Zambian goal.
Just moments later Zambia hit back with a counter-attack as a defence-splitting ball found its way to Racheal Kundananji who was unmarked and able to pick her spot for the equaliser.
Mwape says his team will be a force to reckon with once they mature considering their age and experience.
“Barbra is one of our best strikers in the country, it’s unfortunate that she couldn’t play. We missed her a lot and we can only say the other guys who were supposed to take over from her were a bit jittery. Barbra has a lot of experience. She has played a lot of games. I still believe there could have been a change if she had the opportunity to play,” he said.
“The group stage has given a lot of learning moments for our players and also looking at the age, the next time they will be playing they will be able to challenge bigger teams.”
Mwape however could not hide the pain of being booted out in the group stages.
“All the teams that are taking part in the Africa Cup wanted to qualify to the World Cup and we, as a team, are very disappointed because that was our aim to qualify to the world cup,” said Mwape.
Meanwhile, FAZ executive committee member and head of delegation for the Ghana outing Brenda Kunda said women football in Zambia was slowly taking shape.
“From my analysis, we are getting somewhere and women football in the country is now making a mark,” said Kunda. “In terms of development in the area of women football we have done very well. My hope is that we maintain the team and give them enough game time, organise more games for them, get them more exposed and that will give them with confidence come the next tournament. Otherwise I’m a happy HOD (head of delegation). I say congratulations to them.”
Zambia failed to make it into the semi-finals after recording a win against Equatorial Guinea, losing to Nigeria and drawing with South Africa.
South Africa topped the group after two wins and a draw while Nigeria proceed to the semi-finals with two wins and a loss.
Equatorial Guinea recorded 3 great losses and exited together with the Shepolopolo.