Delayed U-20 women squad finally off

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Zambia Under-20 women’s football team coach Charles Bwale
Zambia Under-20 women’s football team coach Charles Bwale
AFTER their departure was delayed by 24 hours, the Zambia Under-20 women’s team finally set off for Equatorial Guinea yesterday with delegation leader, Lenny Nkhuwa urging the players to remain focused on their FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying assignment.

The team, which left aboard an Ethiopian Airline plane, will only jet into the Equatorial Guinea capital, Malabo this morning after a night stop-over in Addis Ababa.

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With the Zambian delegation moving in batches, coach Charles Bwale ensured at least his first 11 players were on yesterday’s flight while the rest of the group which include some officials will join the squad just hours before kick-off tomorrow in Malabo.

Despite losing a day of training, Nkhuwa said the players had been psyched not to lose their focus on the game which Zambia should win by at least three unanswered goals to progress to the next round of the qualifiers.

“I psyched the girls but they looked disappointed. But you have to understand that they are still young,” Nkhuwa said.

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She said the team should take a leaf from Equatorial Guinea, who arrived in Lusaka on a charter plane 24 hours before the match, but still managed to beat Zambia 2-0 in the first leg.

“This was beyond our control. We found the plane was overbooked yesterday (Thursday). These things sometimes happen because even Equatorial Guinea came on a charter just 24 hours before the game but still managed to beat us 2-0,” Nkhuwa said in an interview at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka yesterday.

Bwale still believes his team can still qualify to the third round.

“We are down today but we are not out. Equatorial Guinea were superior because of their physical presence and we know it will be tough and rough when we go there but we have enough quality to upset the tables,” Bwale said.

He has made two changes to the squad that lost in the first leg played at Sunset Stadium on Saturday, December 7.

Hazel Nali and Joana Benai were named in the 18-member squad for Chiko Nkhoma and Nakalange Mukwasa.

Equatorial Guinea lead the tie courtesy of a brace scored by Christelle Olive Ngo Nyapel in the first leg.

The winners of the tie will face Ghana who qualified to third round via a walkover after Uganda withdrew their participation.

Only two teams will represent Africa at the 2014 Fifa U-20 Womens World Cup to be held in Canada.

The squad:

Goalkeepers:

Hazel Natasha Nali, Susan Nalwamba;

Defenders:

Emelda Musonda, Anita Mulenga, Jackline Mulenga, Lwendo Chisamu, Grace Zulu;

Midfielders:

Milika Limwanya, Maclean Daka, Astridah Pupe, Rachael Lungu, Chisha R. Misozi Zulu, Joana Benai, Natasha Witika;

Forwards: Janny Mubanga, Mary Mwakapila, Ireen Lungu, Barbara Banda.

 

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