Thursday, July 25, 2024

Shepolopolo Stun Giants Nigeria to Win WAFCON Bronze

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Shepolopolo Zambia earned  their debut continental podium finish when they won Women’s AFCON Bronze in Morocco on  Friday evening in Casablanca to clinch a historic first-ever victory over outgoing champions Nigeria.

Record 11-time African queens Nigeria had beaten Shepolopolo 6-0 at 2014 WAFCON in Namibia and 4-0 at 2018 in Ghana.

But on July 22, Shepolopolo ended that run with an efficient 1-0 giant-killing victory over Africa’s highest ranked team on the FIFA charts who sit at number 39 while the 2020 Olympic debutants are 103.

The result saw Zambia end their historic run at 2022 WAFCON with another big result against a team above them on the FIFA rankings after drawing with Cameroon (54), beating Tunisia (72)in the group stage and a quarterfinal win over Senegal (89).

Shepolopolo added a group stage win over lowly Togo (118) in the midst of that fairy tale but South Africa (58) halted that run with a controversial semifinal victory.

However,  after  coach Bruce lost the  2022 CAF Coach of the Year win to South African coach Desiree Ellis on Thursday, he made up for it with a giant-killing act against  the record 11-time WAFCON champions Nigeria to finish third.

The first 15 minutes were evenly contested but in the 23rd minute, the ever-threatening Christy Ucheibe gave Shepolopolo a scare when she fired high at point-blank-range.

Zambia broke the deadlock in the 38th minute thanks to a booming volley from rookie midfielder Everaine Katongo after some excellent work by defender Ireen Tembo on the left.

But Zambia had a late first half scare when Hazel Nali dealt with a fantastic free-kick from defender Ashleigh Plumtre.

At the start of the second half, Gift Monday shot inches wide in the 47th minute and again threatened in the 56th minute but that was the last Shepolopolo heard from her.

Shepolopolo captain Grace Chanda could have added the second goal in the 63rd minute but her downward header from Margret Belemu’s cross went wide.

Despite that, Shepolopolo had done enough as they galloped to a debut third place finish and headed into the sunset ahead of the 2023 New Zealand/Australia FIFA World Cup finals next June over the horizon.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with you. Let’s stick to Copper Queens. Shepolopolo has no meaning.
    Chipolopolo is clear, it’s Copper bullets. It’s ok

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