Zambia are the only other nation from the COSAFA region after South Africa to appear at the FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup after they contested the 2014 finals in Costa Rica.
They will dream of a return again, and will look to the COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship to lay the platform for building a squad towards that.
They managed to win the silver medal last time out, defeated on penalties by Tanzania in the final after a 1-1 draw. They had looked on course for gold but conceded a penalty late on and then went down via spot-kicks.
It was still a successful tournament for the side as they won all four of their pool matches, including a 2-1 victory over hosts South Africa.
That was followed by a group stage win over Tanzania by the same scoreline, and victories over Comoros (3-0) and Zimbabwe (5-2).
Unfortunately they could not get over the line, but will hope to do so this time round at the Region 5 Games Maseru 2020.
Zambia managed a bronze at the inaugural COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship in Mauritius in 2019, as they showed plenty of guts to earn a point in their pool opener against eventual winners Uganda, a game that finished 1-1.
That was followed by big wins over Comoros Islands (15-0) and Mauritius (8-0) to earn a place in the semifinals.
There they came up against hosts and old nemesis South Africa, but lost 2-1, before going on to claim a 3-0 success against Botswana in the third-place play-off.
Zambia first entered the running for World Cup qualification in 2008 but lost 6-0 on aggregate to Ghana in the preliminary round, and then skipped the 2010 qualifiers.
Zambia defeated Botswana 7-1 in the 2012 qualifiers, but then lost by the same margin on aggregate to Nigeria in the next stage.
They beat Botswana again 8-3 on aggregate in the first stage ahead of the 2014 finals, and were surprise 6-4 aggregate winners over South Africa following a 3-3 home draw and a 3-1 away win.
They sealed their place in Costa Rica, where they put in a decent showing. They lost their first two games to Italy (0-2) and Venezuela (0-4) but did beat the hosts 2-1 in their last match.
Zambia withdrew from the 2016 qualifiers ahead of their tie with South Africa, and then were 6-5 aggregate losers to Botswana despite leading 5-2 from the first leg.
They had a walkover against Namibia in the latest round of qualifying, but then lost 3-2 on aggregate to South Africa despite winning the first leg 2-0 at home.
The final tournament was ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qualification has started again for the 2022 FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup, where Zambia will face Namibia in the first round. Those games are scheduled for March next year.
ZAMBIA’S COSAFA WOMEN’S UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD
2019 – Third
2020 – Runners-up
P W D L GF GA
10 7 2 1 41 8
Biggest victory: 15-0 vs Comoros (Group Stage, 22/09/2019)
Biggest defeat: 1-2 vs South Africa (Semifinals, 27/09/2019)
8 goals – Tisilile Lungu
7 – Florence Kasonde
6 – Cindy Banda
5 – Shelly Masumo
4 – Maweta Chilenga, Comfort Selemani
2 – Taonga Chulu
1 – Bupe Banda, Esther Banda, Precious Nsama