Shepolopolo coach Bruce Mwape has declared his charges ready for Wednesday’s 2020 Olympic Games Women’s Football tournament, second round, and first leg qualifier against Zimbabwe at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
The marathon run for the Africa zone women’s one- and-a-half places at the Tokyo Olympics comes a fortnight after Shepolopolo collected their maiden runners-up medal at the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Cup in South Africa where they lost 1-0 against the hosts in the final in Port Elizabeth.
“The team is ready, we have actually played Zimbabwe several times and we know them in-and-out. The last game that we played them was the 2018 AFCON qualifier when we managed to beat them 2-1 away to qualify,” Mwape said.
Shepolopolo lost the first leg at home 1-0 at Nkoloma before qualifying on away goals rule in Harare.
“It (Zimbabwe) is not a weak team, they are a good side it is just a matter of being serious, we are able to carry the day tomorrow,” Mwape added.
But Shepolopolo will be without striker and captain Barbara Banda of Logrono in Spain due to injury.
“We will miss Barbara, she is a very good player and she is actually the one who scored in our last meeting in Zimbabwe. We will definitely miss her,” Mwape said.
However, striker Rachel Kundananji and midfielder Misozi Zulu, both of Kazakhstan side BIIK Kazygurt ,have joined the team after missing the COSAFA Cup due to club commitments.
Meanwhile, Shepolopolo and Zimbabwe enjoyed first round byes and winner will play Botswana or South Africa in the third round of the five-stage qualifiers.
Ultimate winner in the fifth round final playoff will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.