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Nchanga Queens win inaugural Copperbelt Christmas tournament

By Musonda Kunda Chisanga and Moses Pedro Mwanza

Nchanga Queens were yesterday crowned Champions of the first ever 2021 Copperbelt Province Open Christmas Tournament after they defeated Kitwe Girls via a post match penalty shootout that ended 3-nil in Nchangas’ favour after settling for a barren draw while Nursing Stars came out third as they edged Candice Girls 3-0 in the third and fourth place play-off match played at Kitwe’s beautiful Kamfinsa Correctional Ground.

The match anticipated mouthwatering final between Nchanga Queens and Kitwe Girls was witnessed by the Copperbelt Provincial League EXCO led by Mr. Patrick Ndhlovu and Women’s Representative Mrs. Esther Bwalya as well as Copper Queens Midfielder Avell Chitundu from ZESCO Ndola Girls.

This match was the repeat of what happened in the Group Stage which saw Stubborn Kitwe Girls winning 1-0 but Brave Queens revenged that loss and ensured that they travel back to Chingola with the Trophy and Gold Medals.

Both sides had a fair share of chances to bury the game but couldn’t utilize their opportunities as spoils were shared in regulation time and the match had to be decided on penalties.

Nchanga Queens converted all their spot kicks through Tricia Mabamba, Brenda Lombanya and Gracious Tailoshi while Kitwe Girls missed all their three spot kicks thanks to Nchanga goal minder Sitali Bunongo who put up an excellent shift and well deserved goalkeeper of the tournament performance saving two penalties while the other one went off target.

Meanwhile, the third and fourth place play-off between Nursing Stars and Candice was interrupted due to a heavy downpour with Nursing Stars leading 3-nil before the match was unceremoniously stopped.

As a result of that, Nursing Stars were awarded the third position.

To storm the finals, Nchanga saw off Ndola based Nursing Stars 4-2 in an entertaining match thanks to a hatrick from second tournament top goalscorer Brenda Lombanya and another goal from player of the Tournament and Zambia U-17 midfielder Gracious Tailoshi.

On the other hand, Nursing Stars scored through the young sensation Mercy Chipasula and Sibongile Banda who took her total tally of goals to 9 and went on to grab the top goalscorer accolade in this tournament for the Arthur Davison Mission Hospital sponsored side.

In the other semi-final match, experience came to the fore as Stubborn Kitwe Girls defeated new comers Candice Youth 1-nil in a nail biting match.

Kitwe Girls took the lead earlier on in the second half through Mapalo Sikongo who slotted home benefiting from nice build-up play by the Stubborn Girls to send them 1-ni up in the game.

Candice where given a lifeline opportunity to equalize with just eight minutes remaining from stoppage time after skipper of the side Mercy Kafula was brought down in the box and Tasila Kakema stepped up to take the resultant penalty kick unfortunately she shot wide as the match ended 1-nil in favour of Kitwe Girls who set up a blockbuster clash against Nchanga Queens in the final.

Natasha Chileshe from Candice was voted young player of the tournament while Nchanga Queens’ Sitali Bunongo was the Goalkeeper of the Tournament with Gracious Tailoshi emerging as player of the match in the final.

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