Shepolopolo Zambia late on Saturday evening kicked off their two-match friendly visit to Colombia with a defeat.
Zambia lost 1-0 in Cali in the two sides’ debut international meeting.
The game came just 24 hours after Zambia’s late arrival in Colombia following a USA transit visa issue that saw the journey reroute through Spain.
Saturday’s lone goal came in the 5th minute through Catalina Ramirez who tapped in the ball on the rebound after Lorena Bedoya’s long-range volley came off the post.
Three minutes later, Grace Chanda and Ireen Lungu were denied in quick succession by goalkeeper Catalina Perez.
In the last quarter of the first half, Rachel Nachula who ended her two-year Zambia exile sent a sitter wide while Ochumba Lubanji skied the ball.
But Zambia was missing left-back Martha Tembo who did not travel for the friendly following her mother’s passing last week.
Zambia struggled on that front to deal with Colombia’s Ivonne Chacon as the swift winger troubled the visitors throughout the match.
Chacon again gave Zambia a nasty scare in the 54th minute when she found space between defender Agness Musesa and goalkeeper Hazel Nali but headed the ball wide.
Meanwhile, a clearly jet-lagged Zambia then spent most of the second half camped just inside their area but Colombia offered very little serious threat apart from Chacon’s runs.
However, Rachel Kundananji came close to equalizing in the 75 minutes when she sliced through Colombia’s backline with a ball from a Chanda pass but shot narrowly wide of the near post.
Nali then saved Zambia in the 85th minute when she tipped over Catalina Usme’s booming volley delivered from the edge of the box.
Daniela Arias’s header from the resultant corner flew out for a goal kick as Zambia settled for a narrow away defeat.
Colombia and Zambia meet on their final friendly date on November 15 at the same venue.
The two sides are using the friendlies as early warm-up ahead of their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup outing from July 20-August 20 to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.