106th-Ranked Zambia Women Qualify For First-Ever Olympics After Stunning Upset
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The Zambia women’s national team has made history by qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games after upsetting Cameroon in the final of the CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
After defeating Botswana in the quarterfinals and Kenya in the semis, Zambia entered the final a full 57 spots below Cameroon in the FIFA world rankings. What’s more, Cameroon’s program had the experience of qualifying for London 2012 followed by back-to-back Round of 16 appearances at the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cups. Zambia, on the other hand, had never qualified for the Olympics or a World Cup.
The first leg was played in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, last Thursday and the Indomitable Lionesses won that match 3-2. However, 22-year-old midfielder Grace Chanda scored both of the vital away goals for Zambia.
The Copper Queen's first goal against Cameroon.Barbara Banda's brilliant pass
Grace Chanda's fine finish . pic.twitter.com/lvNph96LtY
— #Mr-Zambian-Football (@Mubajnr) March 5, 2020
They opened the doors at Nkoloma Stadium for the return leg in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, and a boisterous crowd roared the Copper Queens to a 2-0 halftime advantage and 4-3 aggregate lead.
Beautiful strike. pic.twitter.com/JGPAAAFWXr
— #Mr-Zambian-Football (@Mubajnr) March 11, 2020
— Leiloe (@Wezi_heartsound) March 10, 2020
Cameroon would pull one back at the death through Ajara Nchout (scorer of that fantastic goal against New Zealand at the World Cup), but that wouldn’t be enough to stop Zambia from winning on away goals.
Zambia now qualifies for Tokyo 2020 as Africa’s lone automatic entrant while Cameroon must play Chile in an intercontinental playoff match.
Zambian president Edgar Lungu congratulated the team while promising his support and the support of the government.
20 year old Barbra Banda becomes the 1st Zambian footballer after King Kalu to Captain a football team to Olympic Games. She’s the first ever female to do it. Ladies and gentlemen, GIRLS ROCK! What can’t they do? Thank you queen for showing us that it can be done! @Copper_Queens pic.twitter.com/movI0HNEyO— Leiloe (@Wezi_heartsound) March 10, 2020