ZAMBIA kicked off her campaign for a place at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women World Cup finals on a contrasting note, winning the opening game before suffering a defeat in the second match.
The Africa Zone Group R qualifiers currently underway at the National Sports Development Centre (NASDEC) in Lusaka saw hosts Zambia recording a 3-0 win over Swaziland before slumping to a 3-1 defeat to Zimbabwe.
Zambia beat Swaziland with set scores of 25-11, 25-18 and 25-18 on Tuesday evening but found the going tough against a Zimbabwe side losing the first set 25-20 before levelling matters with a 16-25 second set win.
But the Zimbabweans proved too strong winning the third and fourth sets 21-25, 16-25.
Zambia is this evening expected to play Botswana in a competition that has attracted six teams and only the two top teams would progress to the final round of the qualifiers to be held in Egypt in January 2014.
Other results saw Botswana beating Namibia 3-0 as Mozambique beat Zimbabwe 3-2.
Team captain Tilabilenji Mvunga said not all was lost as she had faith that the team would perform well in the next game and put qualification back on track.
“We are still confident of progressing to the next round despite today’s (yesterday’s) defeat, the players are still focussed on getting us the results in the upcoming games,” Mvunga said in an interview after the match.
Zimbabwean coach Vulindela Moyo expressed happiness at the result saying his team had studied the Zambian kind of play from the time the two teams played each other in previous round of qualifiers in Malawi. Zambia won that game 3-2.
Meanwhile, Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA) president Gabriel Muyinda said his association yesterday received a donation of K10, 000 leaving the shortfall at K150, 000.
Muyinda said he was confident that the deficit would be met to ensure for the smooth running of the competition that comes to an end tomorrow.
He also said he was confident the team would recover from yesterday’s defeat and sail through to the next round.
Africa will have two spots in the World Championship and a three-round qualification system, starting with two rounds of zonal qualifiers to be played from May to November followed by a 14-team final round in January 2014.
Africa’s top two teams will get a direct berth into the final round.
The winners of the two seven-team final-round pools will earn a berth in the World Championship.