WOMEN’S national team coach Bruce Mwape says he was happy with the result despite the team not playing to expectations following a 2-0 win over Namibia in the opening fixture of the ongoing 2022 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Championships in Pretoria, South Africa.
A brace from Barbra Banda was all that Zambia needed to record a bright start at the tournament and will be hoping to build on it when they face Lesotho on Sunday.
Mwape said the team lacked consistency in the build-up and transitioning, adding that the disjointed play in some phases needed to
“Well, I’m happy with the result but not happy with the way played. We didn’t play well and the coordination in midfield was not good. We had a lot of breakdowns in transitioning and build-up but it’s the name of the game. We relaxed a bit after scoring the first goal and allowed Namibia to settle which is not good,” said Mwape.
“It’s a good start we wanted and we have got it but going forward we need to play our game and make use of the main chances.”
His Namibian counterpart Pualus Shipanga described the loss as painful but was quick to admit that Zambia was the better side and deserved the win.
“We played well despite the loss. I’m proud of the girls, it’s not easy playing a good team like Zambia and losing with such a margin. Zambia is an experienced side and to me they are tournament favourites,” said Shipanga.
And Banda who was voted player of the match said it was good to be back with the team.
“It’s a great feeling to be back with the team and thanks to my teammates for making me win the player of the match. As a striker, it’s my responsibility to score when an opportunity comes. Positioning is key as a striker because it makes things look easy,” said Banda.
Meanwhile on the pitch, Zambia took an early lead through Banda with an easy finish from close range after she had dribbled past two defenders and the goalkeeper to slot the ball into an empty net after she had benefited from a Avell Chitundu through ball.
Banda had a chance to double the lead for Zambia, but her effort came off the post in the 14th minute after she had benefitted from a Xiomara Mapepa cross who had made a solo run passed two defenders before delivering a perfect cross only for Banda to be denied by the post.
Namibia settled in as the game progressed with goalie Catherine Musonda forced to make a save from a Coleman effort in the 36th
Both teams returned from the break rejuvenated with Ochumba Oseke missing a seater in the 47th minute after a beautiful inter-change of passes between Katongo and Banda who released her in space.
Banda continued to torment the Namibian defence with another effort in the 67th minute coming off the crossbar after a beautiful display of football between her and Katongo.
There was no denying Banda in the 70th minute as she doubled the lead with a brilliant finish from outside the box after she had benefited from a Ochumba Oseke curler cross to complete her brace.
Mwape immediately rested Chitundu for Misozi Zulu while Ireen Lungu paved way for Mary Wilombe to add more attacking options.
Banda suffered an injury in the 77th minute that saw her surrender the captaincy armband to substitute Wilombe and was replaced by youngster Eneless Phiri.