Africa-Press – Zambia. The Zambia Women’s National team last month made history by becoming the first Zambia senior team to qualify to the World Cup after reaching the semifinals of the 2022 Morocco Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The Copper Queens also went on to clinch bronze at the tournament by beating nine time Champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria, 1-0 in the third and fourth play off thanks to super strike by Evarine Susan Katongo. The ZamFoot Crew now looks at the top five performers at the tournament for the Bruce Mwape coached side.
The Kazakhstan based forward was tasked with the responsibility of leading the team in the absence of China based star forward Barbra Banda and did she rise to the occasion.
Chanda led from the front scoring three times and assisting twice as Zambia surprised most to clinch bronze on the way beating Tunisia, Togo, Senegal and Nigeria and holding Cameroon and only controversially losing to eventual Champions, South Africa. Chanda lit up the tournament with her beautiful runs, knack for beating players, pace and goals. She was also named in the team of the tournament.
The Terminator as she is known, Tembo put up one of the best performances at the tournament. It was a surprise that she missed in the team of the tournament following her showing.
The makeshift left back set herself apart with her beautiful play, well timed tackles, beautiful runs, amazing crosses and well timed last ditch interceptions.
She made a number of last ditch tackles putting her body on the line on several occasions and set up Evarine Susan Katongo for her goal in the third and fourth play off.
The Shanghai Shengli right back was another important part of the Copper Queens defense that looked impenetrable at the tournament. Usually, a player who loves flamboyant hair but this time she kept it simple much like her stature but her work rate and amazing athleticism gave the Copper a proper outlet in the right wing for quick attacks as she easily moved the ball from her half to her opponent’s half.
She was amazing both in defense and in attack and never looked tired the entire time, what a player, what a performance, easily among the best on the continent in her position.
The Green Buffaloes Women’s Football Club defender was a pillar at the back for the Copper Queens with her simple way of defending. She made smart Challenges and made it look so easy helping the Queens to two clean sheets in the opening three games. Her long range freekicks also possed a challenge for the opposition and led to the equalizer against Senegal in the quarter final tie.
Xiomala Mapepa- The young winger brought a lot of pace to the Copper Queens attack and scored a brilliant goal against Togo. Irene Lungu- The Female computer made work easy in midfield playing in an unfamiliar defensive role but did it with some panache. Hazel Nali – The Turkey based shot stopper made important saves and scored the winning penalty in the quarter final tie against Senegal.
EVARINE SUSAN KATONGO
The 19 year old became the darling of the nation after her impressive showing at her first full major tournament. Despite still being a teenager Katongo showed great awareness, skill, composure and control in midfield against often huge and experienced opposition.
She stood up against some of her role models like Linda Motlhalo and Jane Refiloe and held her own. She earned herself comparison to World stars like Sergio Busquets and Ngolo Kante although her preference remains 2012 AFCON winner Chisamba Lungu.
Scouted by the ZamFoot Crew Editor in Chief Aaron Mubanga Jnr over three years ago, Katongo has grown from strength and seems to only be starting, surely not even the sky’s the limit for this young talent.