11 June 2018
…coach takes blame for loss
A mix-up in substitution by Zimbabwe and Emmaculate Msipa’s head injury made the difference in an Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifier at Rufaro on Sunday.
In the end, Zambia won 2-1 to make it 2-2 on aggregate and qualify for the finals on away goals rule, a huge blow for the Mighty Warriors.
Erina Jeke scored for the hosts while Hellen Chanda and Rachael Kindanaji restored Zambia’s pride a day after their senior men’s team was left in tears following defeat in the COSAFA Cup final by Zimbabwe on Saturday.
Mighty Warriors coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda admitted the wrong substitute and injury cost them.
“That substitution killed us where there was poor communication with the referee and we had the wrong substitute who had to stand and let a player who was struggling with her game continue to play,” said Sibanda.
H-Metro understands that when Emmaculate was introduced, it was Mavis Chirandu who was supposed to have been substituted.
Instead they pulled out goal scorer Erina Jeke.
Just a few minutes into the game, Emmaculate was rushed to hospital after a collision with a Zambian player, resulting in the unplanned substitution.
“Today we played very well but unfortunately could not hold the ball. Again the injury to Emmaculate also killed our game as the players could not stabilise the midfield which ended in a big blow for us.
“We could have been mentally better to at least come out with a draw then we were going to be safe and sound.
“That loss of concentration last minute cost us but that is how football is,” Sibanda said.
She added that the loss is a disappointment to the players as they want to use such international assignments to market themselves.
“We always want to use such stages to market our players but unfortunately things didn’t go that way.
“There is no reason now to hammer our players because they did play well just that today wasn’t the day.
“All being said we did well, football is unpredictable and we have drawn positives from Zambia,” Sibanda said.
Shepolopolo coach Bruce Mwape was a satisfied man after his side managed to beat Zimbabwe who he considered were an obstacle for his side over the years.
“I am very happy that we managed to beat Zimbabwe who have been standing in our way for a long time dating back to 2014.
“What makes me happier is that we assembled a new team from the one we had and they have managed to sail us through to the AWCON finals after a long time.
“The two players who scored today were actually first timers so this is a positive for us,” he said.
Mwape said they were targeting to put smiles on Zambia’s face after they lost the COSAFA title to Zimbabwe on Saturday.
“This has been a good relief for our side because the game we lost to Zimbabwe on the men’s side on Saturday was a disappointment for our nation.
“The eyes were on the ladies now because we could not afford a double blow.
“I’m sure we have given them a reason to smile now,” Mwape said.
Neighbours South Africa are also through to the finals after they beat Lesotho 6-0 while Algeria beat Ethiopia 3-2 and went through on a 6–3 aggregate.