By SANDRA MWILA –
AFTER knocking out Tanzania on Friday, Zambia women senior team coach, Charles Bwale has now set his eyes on qualifying to the CAF 2014 Africa Women Championship (AWC) finals.
Zambia ejected Tanzania’s Twiga Stars on a 3-2 goal aggregate following a 1-1 draw in Dar-es-Salaam on Friday to reach the final round of qualifiers for the continental women’s football showpiece.
Now Bwale rates the She-polopolo’s chances of reaching the AWC finals in Namibia as 80 per cent but emphasised that the team still needed some polishing, especially in the frontline.
Speaking in an interview on arrival from Tanzania yesterday, Bwale said the She-polopolo were on the right path for qualification and that the technical bench would do everything possible to ensure the team made the Namibia finals in October.
Zambia will meet either Zimbabwe or Botswana in the next round for a berth at Africa’s biggest women football tournament.
“The girls’ victory over Tanzaina is not the end of the road for my team. They will remain focused and qualify to the Africa Women Championship which I believe we have a strong chance.
Bwale said his charges put up a good performance against Tanzaina but they still needed to improve in some areas for them to make an appearance at the African championship.
“At this point, I am rating our chances of qualifying at 80 per cent but a number of improvements still need to be done which includes working on the striking skills of our girls,” he said.
Despite intimidation by a large crowd at Azam Sports Complex, Bwale said he was proud of the She-polopolo as they managed to withstand the local pressure.
“The girls had scored a second goal but it was not allowed by the referee for the reason that I didn’t understand till today. But I am very sure that was a goal,” he said.
He said the team would take a short break to give the players some time to rest before returning to prepare for the final push.
“The girls need to be back in camp in probably mid month depending on the programme that will be made because we need to maintain their fitness, he said on arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. in Lusaka.
A late strike by Susan Banda cancelled out the Twiga Stars goal after Asha Rashid had given them a 1-0 lead in the first half.
Banda blasted home a thunderbolt which caught goalkeeper, Fatuma Omary on the wrong foot.
As the final whistle was blown, the Twiga Stars players broke into tears in disbelief after failing to maximise the home ground advantage and partisan support from the local fans.
The She-polopolo advanced to the final round of the AWC qualifiers having earlier beaten Tanzania 2-1 in the first leg at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Valentines’ Day.