ZAMBIA today face South Africa in the finals of the Hockey 5’s Africa Olympic qualifiers for a place at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Both the men and women teams need to beat South Africa in the finale set for the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka to clinch a qualifying slot for the Games slated for China.
South Africa and Zambia are both tied on seven points and the winner will qualify for the Games, while in the women event, South Africa is on 12 points with Zambia trailing in second place on seven points.
During yesterday’s games, Martha Nankala was the heroine of the Zambian team when she scored the winner to beat Namibia 5-4 to reach the finals in a match that was briefly watched by First Lady Christine Kaseba and Education Minister John Phiri.
Zambia, who needed a win against Namibia, conceded three goals in the first half before scoring a fourth goal that sent the Zambian supporters in loud silence.
However, Carol Nankombe and Comfort phiri restored pride for Zambia and got the fans singing louder as the final whistle was blown.
In the men’s fixture, Zambia drew 3-all with South Africa on Wednesday night to share joint leadership, while Zimbabwe’s surge suffered a setback following a 7-2 loss to Kenya.
And Zambia coach Ahmed Needem commended the girls for putting up an exceptional fight to ensure that the dream of qualifying to the Nanjing 2014 Olympics remains alive.
“The girls should be commended for the fighting spirit exhibited in this match. It is not easy to come from behind after conceding four goals and emerge victorious,” he said.