President Hakainde Hichilema last night made a phone call to the Zambia Women Team to encourage them following their controversial 1-0 loss to South Africa in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) semifinals.
It was a heartbreaking loss as Zambia conceded a 90th minute penalty in Casablanca after defender Martha Tembo allegedly fouled Jermaine Seoposenwe in the box.
President Hichilema said the team performed well at the WAFCON despite the controversial loss in the semifinals on Monday night.
“Mulimbe ma ladies (stay strong ladies), you have done a wonderful job, mwagwila nchito yaikulu maningi ngako (you have done a very commendable job), you have made us proud, we are proud of you, you have really nothing to apologise about to feel sad about you have done a good job, next time you will be there,” he Head of State said.
President Hichilema also disputed the penalty awarded to Banyana.
“That was a contestable penalty, the goal is a questionable penalty, and I think we should really look into it carefully it was outside the box but you did a fantastic job, you have done a good run up to now, semi-final is good, you qualified to the World Cup (and) we are proud of you and on behalf of all Zambians we are proud of you, feel happy don’t be depressed,” Hichilema said.
“Many people who were watching like us have questions about that penalty but well done, keep the spirits of the girls and the whole team high. You are going to the World Cup, we are all behind you, we will do our best as a government and the people of Zambia are behind you, we wish you well,” the Head of State said.
Hichilema urged Shepolopolo to be calm ahead of the third place play off against Nigeria on 22 July.
“Just play the game you love so much. You love soccer, go out and play and play with your hearts, with your mind, with your body, do what you decided to do as professional soccer players, do just that and we are all behind you,” Hichilema said.