Zambia: The Zambia Women’s team will be back in action today as they look to sign off their debut FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance with a win against Costa Rica at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Kick-off is at 09h00CAT, and the match will be live on SuperSport and TopStar. Both teams are in search of their first win from their Group C matches, having lost to Spain and Japan.
It would not be the first time the two sides are locking horns on the international stage, having faced off at junior level in the 2014 Costa Rica World Cup, where Zambia beat the hosts 2-1.
The game against Costa Rica was Zambia’s only win at the World Cup, thanks to a Grace Chanda goal and an own goal. Coach Bruce Mwape has rallied the team to beat Costa Rica and exit the tournament on a high note.
Mwape has also hinted at chances to the lineup that starts today, with the obvious being the return of goalkeeper Catherine Musondo who was suspended in the previous game against Spain.
Mwape said the game would be challenging as both teams would battle for pride.
“I think it will not be easy for one obvious reason. We are playing a team that has not won any game in our group. Even we have not won any game that we have played. That is the more reason it will not be easy. I’m sure the other team also wants to get at least points. But ours also is after the maximum points. So I strongly feel we need to do well, and we want to finish on a good note,” Mwape said.
The coach has also noted that despite Costa Rica losing 2-0 and 3-0 to Spain and Japan, respectively, the team was not a push over, and it would be a 50-50 affair.
“They haven’t actually won any game. But if you look at their performance, you will see that they have allowed goals and not scored in any game going by statistics. It means it will be either 50-50 or have the upper hand on them if we do well.
“If we go by what we have planned, the statistics show that when it comes to defending, they are not good for them to concede all that goals. When it comes to attack, they have not scored any goal, which means maybe their attack is not that good. Otherwise, we have prepared according to how we have seen them play the past two games,” he said.
In goal, the coach will likely have Catherine Musonda with an option of Eunice Sakala and Letica Lungu between the sticks. With all players available for selection, the back four could be covered by Lushomo Mweemba, Agnes Musesa, Magret Belemu and Martha Tembo, with Vast Phiri, Judith Soko, Esther Banda and Mary Mulenga also available for selection.
In midfield, the coach has Ireen Lungu, Evarine Katongo and Susan Banda, with options in Mary Wilombe, Hellen Chanda and Ochumba Oseke.
Upfront Captain Barbara Banda is likely to lead the attack alongside Racheal Kundananji and ‘newborn’ Avell Chitundu, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday.