March 11 – Zambia have qualified for the first time for the Olympic Women’s Football tournament following a 2-1 victory over Cameroon.
The Copper Queens clinched Africa’s single automatic ticket for the Tokyo tournament in a two-legged encounter with Cameroon, a traditional continental powerhouse in the women’s game.
In the first leg in Yaounde, a brace from Aboudi Onguene’s along with Ajara Nchout’s goal earned Cameroon a 3-2 advantage, but the Zambians turned the tie around at home winning 2-1 to seal their ticket 4-4 on aggregate thanks to the away-goals rule.
In the 15h minute, Mary Mwakapila opened the scoring for the hosts and Hellen Mubanga added a second from close range just before the break. In injury time, Cameroon pulled a goal back and Zambia had Martha Tembo dismissed, but the hosts held on in a nervy finish.
Zambia became only the fifth African side to reach the Olympics’ women’s football tournament, after Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Cameroon may have missed out on the automatic slot, but they will take on Chile in an intercontinental playoff next month in a final shot at qualification for Tokyo 2020. The first leg takes place on April 9 in Yaounde before Cameroon travel to Chile on April 15.
The Cameroonians last featured at the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1585732270labto1585732270ofdlr1585732270owedi1585732270sni@o1585732270fni1585732270