Zambia gather for COSAFA Women’s Championship preparations

Zambia will be gunning for a maiden COSAFA Women’s Championship title win when they contest the 2019 competition in South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality from July 31-August 11.

The Shepolopolo have yet to make the final, but won three bronze medals and last year finished fourth when they lost to East African guest nation Uganda in the third-place play-off.

Coach Bruce Mwape has retained the core of the 2018 group as the side gathers for a 10-day training camp in Lusaka, and he is confident they can grab that elusive gold medal this year.

“Our players have gained experience; they played the COSAFA last year and at the Africa Cup [Women’s Championship]. I am sure they are now geared to lift the cup,” Mwape was quoted by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ).

“Of course, when you go to a tournament you always target number one position.”

One of the stars of the side is likely to be Spain-based Barbara Banda, who plays for EDF Logrono and will bring vast experience to the group.

“I have got a lot of experience which I am able to share with my friends here and I think I will add more value to the team,” Banda told FAZ.    “We are in camp for 10 days in preparation for the COSAFA and All Africa Games. Everyone is looking in shape, we are all determined to do well at the COSAFA.

“The results we did last time, they are behind we have a new vision. We will take the COSAFA as preparations for us.”

Mwape has brought a 36-player squad into camp, which will be cut down for the COSAFA tournament.

Zambia will find out their pool opponents on July 3 when the draw is made for the COSAFA Women’s Championship and the COSAFA Under-20 Women’s Championship, which will be hosted concurrently from August 1-11.

The teams at the senior championship will be split into three pools of four sides each, with the top team in each group advancing to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up.

Aside from Zambia, other confirmed participants in the senior championship are Angola, Botswana, Comores Islands, Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Provisional Zambia squad:

Goalkeepers: Tricia Mutale (Konkola), Hazel Nali, Maleta Muwindwa (both Green Buffaloes), Edith Zulu (Yasa), Dyness Kasuka (Red Arrows)

Defenders: Lweendo Chisamu, Agness Musesa, Anita Mulenga Martha Tembo (all Green Buffaloes), Margret Belemu (Red Arrows), Patricia Lampi (Yasa), Lushomo Mweemba (Nkwazi), Grace Nanyiza (Indeni), Miniver Chitundu (Zesco), Edah Lungu (Evergreen), Jackline Nkole (Indeni)

Midfielders: Natasha Witika (Zesco) Rachael Lungu, Hellen Chanda, Mary Mulenga (all Red Arrows), Kasonde Juliet Kasonde (Moba Queens), Naomi Chiwele Naomi, Rhoda Chileshe (both Indeni Roses), Judith Zulu (Green Buffaloes), Mary Mwakapila (Green Buffaloes), Vast Phiri (Zesco)

Strikers: Ochumba Oseke (Nkwazi), Grace Chanda, Hellen Mubanga, Tukiya Mufishi, Square Maiwase (all Red Arrows), Dorothy Chimfwembe (Chiparamba Breakthrough), Racheal Nachula (Green Buffaloes), Avell Chitundu (Zesco), Misozi Zulu (Indeni Roses), Barbra Banda (EDF Logrono)