By SANDRA MWILA at Nkoloma Stadium –
Zambia 3 Ghana 2
ZAMBIA women coach Bruce Mwape yesterday said beating Ghana has given the Shepolopolo confidence heading to the total 2018 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals that kicks of November 17.
Mwape said in a post-match that he was happy with the way the Shepolopolo responded after going 2-0 to beat one of the tournament favourites thanks to a Rachael Kundananji hat-trick.
“Ghana is a powerhouse in Africa and I am happy with the way we played. And this win has given us an inside of what to expect at the AFCON finals. There is still a lot of work to be done and I can say we are at 70 percent ready but we still need to work on goal possession because we lost the ball cheaply,” Mwape said.
The coach also heaped praise on scorer Rachel Kundananji on her performance in the game.
“Rachel is playing well. She keeps on improving in each and every game and what’s interesting is she only started playing two years ago,” he said.
A minute of silence was observed in honour of the late freedom fighter Mama Chibesa Kankasa and referee Leah Namukonde, who were both put to rest yesterday.
Ghana silenced countable fans that trooped to Nkoloma Stadium when they took the lead in 21 minute through Portia Boakye, who easily slotted in the ball from close range into an inviting empty from a Janet Egyir cross after goal keeper Hazel Nali had left her lines.
The visitors continued to attack but Grace Asantwae’s shot was blocked by Margaret Belemu in the 30th minute but there was no denying them two minutes later when captain Elizabeth Addo scored from a free kick which was given after she was fouled by Lushomo Mweemba just outside the box.
The half time peep talk from Mwape seemed to have done the trick as Rachel Kundananji reduced the deficit in the 64th minute when she hammered a powerful shot past goal keeper Patricia Mantry from the edge of box after she was set up by Mary Mwakapila.
Kundanaji levelled scores in the 77th minute when he unleashed another struck past Mantry and claimed her hat-trick in the 85th minute when again combined with Mwakapila to struck past the Ghanaian keeper.
Ghana coach Bashir Hayford said the result was not a true reflection of how the team performed.
“We played well and we not looking at the result because our focus is on the AFCON. I know people back home will think we performed badly looking at the result but I am happy,” he said.
The game was watched by an ardent football fan Vincent Mwale, who is also Local Government and Housing Minister, Football Association of Zambia vice president Rix Mweemba and Chipolopolo coach Sven Vandenbroek, who was accompanied by his family.