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FLIGHT PARIS 2024: Copper Queens Through to Third Round of Olympics after Mali Withdrawal

The Zambia Women’s National Team has qualified to the third round of the Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Qualifiers following the withdraw of second round opponents Mali.

FIFA Head of Qualifiers and International Matches Gordon Savic confirmed Mali’s withdraw in a letter to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), stating that the back-to-back qualifiers have been cancelled.

“We would like to inform you that Mali has formally notified us of its withdrawal from the Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. Obviously, the first direct consequence is the cancellation of both legs between Mali and Zambia, which were initially due at the end of this month,” Savic’s letter to FAZ reads in part.

“In addition, please note that Zambia is therefore automatically qualified for the 3rd round that is due in February 2024. Your team will host the second leg match vs. the winner of Benin/Ghana, as per the draw of 30 May 2023. We will be in touch in due course to coordinate the two matches of the 3rd qualifying round.”

The first leg of the second-round qualifier was initially scheduled for Independence eve in Bamako on 23 October with the return leg pencilled for Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola at the end of October.

The locally assembled Copper Queens will now focus on retaining the COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa while a full-strength squad will end their busy year with the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) second round qualifier against Angola in November and December.

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