Shepolopolo brought us joy in year of crisis
COMMENTARY: Notwithstanding coming short of advancing to the semifinals of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of the nations in Ghana, the Zambia Women’s national team were the best performers in a year of many crestfallen moments.
With the U-17, U-20 and the senior men’s national teams failing to qualify for their respective Cup of nations, the girls stepped up and mesmerized the nation.
Shepolopolo who in the past made a camel of AWCON appearances had to breakthrough from a 1-0 loss in their 1st leg of the qualifier tie against Zimbabwe in Lusaka to book a place at the women’s soccer fiesta in Ghana.
The girls were pooled in a very tough group that had defending Champions and run-away winners Nigeria, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea.
In their opening game, Shepolopolo thumped Equatorial Guinea 5-0 and subsequently lost to record holders Nigeria 5-0 before sharing the spoils 1-1 with South Africa in their last group fixture.
So close to the 2019 FIFA Women’s Cup of the nations in France but yet so far to Shepolopolo. The girls bowed out of the coveted women’s showpiece in Africa with their heads held high, loosing only gainst a dominant Nigeria side.
A new Shepolopolo star in Racheal Kundananji was born and scored an overall of 3 goals – same number of goals scored by reigning Africa’s best women player Asisat Oshoala. Kundananji was among the second highest scorers adrift to Thembi Kagtlana of South Africa who found the back of the net five-times.
With Chipolopolo failing on their 2019 Africa Cup of the nations assignment and Shepolopolo qualifying – comes the debate on whether both sides should receive the same treatment. Equal pay and equal bonuses. Maybe it’s high time much attention in women’s football is put as it is in their male counterparts.
Well done girls, well done Shepolopolo! You made us proud in a year bucketful of crisis.
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