The Zambia Women’s National Team may have been dethroned by Malawi as the Queens of Southern Africa but there were a lot of positives from the tournament.
The Scorchers beat the Copper Queens 2-1 in the final of the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship to win their first ever regional showpiece.
Coach Bruce Mwape and his technical bench decided to go with a blend of experience and new blood.
The experience being the impeccable Lushomo Mweemba, the hard working Susan Banda, and the enterprising Evarine Susan Katongo.
Jackline Nkole, Ng’ambo Petronella Musole and Esther Siamfuko also had a bit of experience heading into the COSAFA.
However, the majority of the players were heading to their first tournament while others were always fringe players in their positions.
With that said, it is clear a number of players have passed their auditions for the Copper Queens squad proper.
ZANACO Ladies forward Sarah Jere is one of the players who came to the party and scored four goals at the tournament including the solo goal that sealed Zambia’s place in the final.
Jere was playing her first tournament with the Copper Queens and played a vital role in the tournament.
The former Chiparamba Breakthrough striker scored 13 goals last season for ZANACO Ladies and has one so far this season.
Jere is not new to scoring goals she was the overall top goalscorer in the 2021/22 FAZ Women’s League Lusaka Province season scoring a remarkable 29 goals in 33 appearances for the Bankers who went on to win the league in their second season and eventually won promotion to the top tier of Zambian Women’s Football , The FAZ Women’s Super Division.
Another player who put up her hand was Elite Ladies defender Pauline Zulu who put up some impressive shifts.
Zulu was outstanding in the final going up against one of the best female football talents on the continent, Temwa Chawinga.
The Pataaki Girls product showed a lot of composure at the back and almost had a goal in the semifinals only to be denied by the post.
For a player who not so long ago during the friendly matches against South Korea was a target of a lot of criticism following some mistakes, she has turned things around with aplomb.
There are already fans dreaming of a Lushomo Mweemba/Pauline Zulu partnership for the future.
Fridah Kabwe of ZESCO Ndola Girls also had a fair shout with a hat-trick in the third group stage game.
Enelesi Phiri, Salome Phiri and Esther Banda also had a good tournament together with Esther Siamfuko who has been on the fringes of the team for sometime.
The Copper Queens will be back in action in November when they face Angola in the final qualification round of the 2024 Morocco Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.