Shepolopolo dependable midfielder Mary Mwakapila has been ruled out of the Tokyo Olympics bound squad due to an illness.
Zambia Women Team Coach Bruce Mwape said Mwakapila, who plays in Israel, has never been well since Shepolopolo returned from Chile in November last year.
Mwape did not specify the player’s illness.
He said it will be tough to find Mwakapila’s replacement ahead of the delayed Olympic Games.
“We now need to look for a capable player, who can play like Mary Mwakapila,” Mwape said.
Mwakapila played a key role when Zambian women earned the maiden Olympics qualification last year.
Meanwhile, Mwape has told journalists in Lusaka that playing friendly matches against South Africa and Kenya this month is vital as Shepolopo steps up preparations for the Olympics.
“As we play friendly matches we will be looking at our defense. Our defense has experienced some changes,” he said.
Zambia will play South Africa on April 10 in Johannesburg and Kenya at the month-end.