The Zambia Senior Women’s National Football Team’s further participation in the Africa Women Cup of Nations was halted on Sunday after they lost the second round, second leg 3-2 at Nkoloma Stadium.
The result means that Zimbabwe has qualified for the final tournament to be hosted by Cameroon in November following a 4 – 2 aggregate win.
Kudakwashe Basopo opened the scoring in the 6th minute, in the process scoring her second goal of the tie, when she reacted quicker in following up a rebound after Rufaro Machingura’s effort had come off the upright.
However parity was restored 16 minutes later when Noria Sosala volleyed a first time effort at the top of the box after being set up by Grace Chanda.
Zimbabwe restored their lead in a sweeping move which started with Sheila Makoto finding a pass to Basopo who then switched play by floating a pass to Samkeliswe Zulu who out sprinted Martha Tembo before shooting past Nali in goal for Zambia.
The visitors held on to take a 2 – 1 lead at the break.
Zambia made changes after the restart with Esther Mukwasa and Emelda Musonda replacing Mary Wilombe and Martha Tembo respectively and looked more purposeful thereafter.
The hosts continued to enjoy a large percentage of the possession, forcing errors out of their opponents and winning set pieces but failed to turn their dominance into goals.
Barbra Banda came closest to restoring parity on 57 minutes when inside the box she could only manage a lame shot which was easily collected by Chido Dzingirai.
The pressure paid off on 60 minutes when Zimbabwe failed to clear their lines following a free kick and in an aerial tussle one of their defenders handled the ball and Ugandan referee Nabikko Ssemango did not hesitate to point to the spot.
Misozi Zulu dispatched the resulting penalty to keep the tie alive and give hope of turning the tables with half an hour of play remaining.
However, in a rare moment of attack by Zimbabwe, the Zambian defence was caught napping as Emmaculate Msipa pounced on a weak clearance by Emelda Musonda to drive her effort into the bottom left corner in the 89th minute.
And Coach Albert Kachinga blamed his Defenders for the loss.
“We wanted to score as many goals as we could but we were porous at the back; conceding three goals at home is not good enough. The defence did not do its job,” Kachinga told fazfootball.com after the match.
“We pushed most of our players upfront and that unsettled us. Zimbabwe used a lot of pace on the right side of attack, they took advantage of their speedy winger they had.”
Kachinga added that knocks suffered by Hellen Mubanga, Barbra Banda and Rhoda Chileshe had an effect on the game.
“Barbra limped off after playing sixty percent of the game, Hellen had a knock in Zimbabwe so we could not select her for this match and Chileshe also had a knock. Those changes unsettled us as well,” he said.