By Ellina Mhlanga
IT’S another epic battle between Zimbabwe and Zambia in the last qualifying round of the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers, with the two countries clashing this afternoon in the first leg at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
This is third time the two countries are meeting in a tie that will decide who proceeds to the African football extravaganza in Ghana from November 17 to December 1.
The return leg is scheduled for Rufaro on Sunday.
A win today will see the Mighty Warriors getting closer to qualification and coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda is convinced her charges will deliver.
“When we go away, the first thing is we want to try not to concede. If we don’t concede away we will frustrate them since they will be playing in front of their supporters.
“The players are looking sharp, it’s a tight contest. We play as a team and we are not going to look at an individual.
“The players really competed for their jerseys, it wasn’t easy to choose the final 18, but because of numbers, it had to be done. We are just going to stick to our play and approach to the match so that we can come out with good results,” said Sibanda.
Captain Talent Mandaza is fancying their chances against their northern neighbours.
“We are looking forward to our game against Zambia, of course, they are a difficult team, but with the kind of players we have, the love of the game they have, I think we are going to make it.
“We are not putting ourselves under pressure. We know Zambia are a physical side and they depend more on Barbara (Banda), but we work as a team.
“I believe we are also technically better.
“Our main goal is to get an away goal and avoid conceding,” said Mandaza.
Zambia’s coach Bruce Mwape named his final 20-member squad on Monday headlined by striker Banda and captain Misozi Zulu, who was racing against time to be fully fit after picking an injury during training.
Speaking to FAZfootball.com, Mwape expressed concern over Zulu, but said they are ready for the match.
“We are ready for the Zimbabwe game although our captain Misozi is nursing an injury. We will wait for the doctors to tell us whether or not she will make it,” Mwape said.
Earlier on he had told local journalists that they will be cautious going into today’s match.
“This game we will actually play an open game since we are playing at home, although somehow we should be cautious because of the experience of the Zimbabwean team.
“But we will try by all means to make sure that we get the goals that we want,” said Mwape.
Defenders: Nobuhle Majika, Lynett Mutukuto, Sheila Makoto, Sithembile Nyoni, Nobukhosi Ncube.
Midfielders: Talent Mandaza, Emmaculate Msipa, Daisy Kaitano, Felistas Muzongondi, Mavis Chirandu, Majory Nyaumwe.
Strikers: Rutendo Makore, Erina Jeke, Berita Kabwe, Maud Mafuruse, Tafadzwa Tsunguro.
Goalkeepers: Hazel Nali, Maleta Muwindwa, Anne Namonje.
Defenders: Lweendo Chisamu, Martha Tembo, Anita Mulenga, Mary Mambwe, Lushomo Mweemba, Margaret Bbelemu, Jacquline Nkole.
Midfielders: Helen Chanda, Prisca Chilufya, Rhodah Chileshe, Misozi Zulu, Penelope Mulubwa, Mary Mwakapila, Joana Benaia.
Strikers: Rachael Kundananji, Theresa Chewe, Barbara Banda.