By Grace Chingoma
Botswana’s elimination of Banyana Banyana will rub salt into the wounds of the Mighty Warriors who will now reflect on a lost golden opportunity to return to the Olympics.
The senior national women football team boycotted their qualifier against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday after a spectacular fallout with ZIFA leaders.
They had lost the first leg 0-5 in Lusaka, but only after a shocking second-half collapse in which they conceded five goals. Many blame that collapse on fatigue which crept into the team after a road trip to Lusaka and poor preparations.
And, the lost chance to take on Botswana for a ticket to the Olympic Games will hurt the Mighty Warriors.
No one gave the Batswana a chance against Banyana Banyana, the COSAFA champions, 2016 Rio Olympic finalists and 2019 France World Cup finalists.
But, following another goalless draw at Orlando Stadium, having shared spoils in Gaborone, the hosts were dumped out 2-3 on penalties.
The result has since been described by Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis as the lowest low of the team.
Instead of taking on Botswana, in the third round, in anticipation of a clash with the winner between Ghana and Kenya in the fourth round, the Mighty Warriors are waiting for possible punishment from FIFA.
Third Round Fixtures
Botswana v Zambia, Cameroon v DRC, Ghana v Kenya, Cote d Ivoire v Nigeria.
Botswana/Zambia v Ghana/Kenya
Cameroon/DRC v Cote d Ivoire/Nigeria