WOMEN’S national team coach Bruce Mwape has handed a call-up to Nigeria based midfielder Natasha Witika in his 33 member provisional squad ahead of the 2022 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women’s Championship set for next month in South Africa.

Other players summoned for the first time to the senior women’s national team include U-17 first choice goal keeper Chitete Munsaka, Eunice Sakala, Bertha Imponena , Pauline Zulu, Norin Betani, Lillian Mwaba and Eneless Phiri.

Skipper Barbra Banda will lead the Copper Queens supported by 19 players who starred at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco where the team scored a double by qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and minting a WAFCON bronze.

Zambia have been placed in Group B alongside Namibia, Lesotho and eSwatini and will kick start their campaign with a tie against Namibia on August 1 before they face Lesotho on the 4th while their last group encounter will be against eSwatini two days later.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, Mwape said he was confident that the summoned players will deliver to the expectations of the public.

“It’s a provisional team of 33 and we are hoping that the players given an opportunity will deliver to the expectations. We are in a fair Group and our target is to first go past the Group before thinking of challenging for the title. We have played the teams in the Group and we know what to expect,” he said.

Mwape said the team is warry of the threats posed by all opponents in the group, adding that modern football demanded hard work and consistency.

He warned players summoned that no player was guaranteed a place in the final team hence the need to work extra hard to make the trip to South Africa.

“We have to put aside the WAFCON achievements and focus on winning this year’s CASAFA Cup. We have the material that can win Zambia the trophy provided they remain focused. We have to strategise and work on the endurance and fitness levels of the players knowing we don’t have enough time left,” said Mwape.

The Copper Queens will be bubbling with confidence having recently qualified to its maiden World Cup to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand next year.