After a couple of bronze-medal finishes in the past, Zambia will be hoping to turn that into gold when they contest the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championships in Zimbabwe from September 13-24. The Shepolopolo will be among the tournament favourites for the expanded 12-team event that will be a true celebration of the growth of women’s football in the Southern African region.
They will learn their fate of who they will face in the first round on Wednesday, August 23 when the draw for the pool stages is held in at COSAFA House in Johannesburg.
Zambia coach Albert Kachinga will be an interested spectator and says whoever they get, they will be prepared for the competition.
“We have just started preparations. I think we have three weeks to prepare the girls for the tournament,” Kachinga told the Lusaka Times this week. “We need to work on a number of things so that we can bring the girls to the condition that is acceptable to go play such a tough tournament. We have got teams like South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
After picking up bronze in 2002 and 2006, Kachinga says his side will be looking for a first tournament victory in the COSAFA Women’s Championships. This is especially after the success of the men’s Under-20 side in not only being crowned COSAFA champions, but also winning the continental title and putting on a strong show at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea earlier this year.
“We are looking at nothing less than going as far as the final. We want to go as far as the final. A precedent has been set by the Under-20 boys who won the COSAFA, Africa and qualified for the World Cup,” Kachinga said.
Aside from Zambia, the other teams in the hat for the first round include hosts Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and East African guest nation Kenya.