Wednesday Oct 27, 2021. 13:00
Shepolopolo Zambia coach Bruce Mwape is not happy with his girls performance in the 2022 AFCON first round qualifiers despite advancing to the final hurdle.
Zambia toiled to eliminate 2021 COSAFA Women’s Cup runners-up Malawi in the first round after drawing away and narrowly winning at home to advance 4-3 on aggregate.
Africa’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics finalists squandered a one-nil lead in the first leg on October 2 to finish 1-1 in Lilongwe.
Then on October 26 at home in Lusaka, Zambia rallied twice after Malawi had taken an 8th minute lead to win 3-2.
“We didn’t play well compared to the way we played in Malawi but the most important thing is to qualify for the second round. But there is still time to correct all those mistakes,” Mwale said.
“We were not able to possess the ball in the first half according to what we planned.”
In the final leg played at Nkoloma Stadium, Asimenya Simwaka put Malawi ahead in the 8th minute and it took another seventeen minutes for Rachel Kundananji to equalize before she completed her brace in the 41st minute.
However, Wezi Mvula restored parity in the 1st minute but Zambia defender Lushomo Mweemba fired-in a free-kick four minutes later to settle Shepolopolo’s nerves.
“Maybe it is because we allowed Malawi to score the first goal and the girls became jittery so we couldn’t find the rhythm of the game and it actually took time for us to settle down,” Mwape said.
Mwape added that Shepolopolo’s performance in the AFCON qualifiers was a far cry from the solid display they produced at the COSAFA Women’s Cup earlier this month where they finished third after beating ex-champions South Africa for Bronze.
Shepolopolo scored 11 goals and conceded just 2 goals at the tournament South Africa hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay from September 28 to October 9.
Meanwhile, Shepolopolo resumes its Women’s AFCON qualifying campaign in February against Namibia and will be at home in the first leg on the last stretch for a place at next year’s tournament Morocco is hosting from July 2-23.