By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
COACH Beauty Mwamba was irked by the senior She-polopolo’s failure to beat Botswana despite the team storming the semi-finals of the COSAFA Cup tournament being played in South Africa.
Zambia and Botswana played to a goalless draw and the two sides will again clash in the semi-finals tomorrow. The She-polopolo finished on top of group B on a better goal difference after they were tied on seven points with Botswana.
In a post-match interview, Mwamba expressed disappointment especially with attacker Rachel Nachula’s failure to convert a penalty.
She said the team will have no option but to beat Botswana in the semi-finals at all costs to book a final spot.
“I am not happy with the result as I expected the girls to win. I am also not happy that my striker missed the spot kick when it’s just her and the goalkeeper.
Botswana are physical so I told the girls to be conscious to avoid injuries and when opportunity arrives, press towards the goal,” Mwamba said.
And Botswana coach Jacqueline Gaobinelwe admitted that the team had a lot of work to do to over-come Zambia in the semis.
The She-polopolo dominated play but failed to create clear chances on target with their star attackers Theresa Chewe, Nachula and Grace Chanda.
Zambia were denied a penalty in the 37th minute when Chewe was brought down inside the box by Thanda Mokabo but the referee decided on a free kick which was ballooned by Mary Mulenga.
In the 60th minute, Zambia won a penalty after Tebatso Pilane handed the ball. But Nachula wasted the opportunity when she literally shot very wide from the post much to the displeasure of the coach.
Meanwhile, the under-20 edged Tanzania 2-1 to book a semi-final clash against Zimbabwe.
Goals from Florence Kasonde and substitute Christine Kalenga in both halves saw Zambia finish on top of Group B unbeaten.
The young She-polopolo opened the scoring through Kasonde in as early as fourth minute with a terrific long shot into the left corner of the net.
Tanzania gained possession after 10 minutes of play and put Zambia under constant siege.
The East Africans were denied an equaliser twice when Anna Mukumbuta perfectly served Enekia Lunyamila and Aisha Masaka shots in in the 37th and 41st minutes.
In the second half, Tanzania continued to pile pressure on Zambia but failed to convert chances.
Kalenga feasted on the Tanzanian lapse in defence to make it 2-0 for Zambia in the 60th minute.
The young Twiga Stars managed to get a consolation goal in the 83rd minute through Lunyamila.
Zambian forward Everine Katongo was named player of the match following an impressive shift.
Zambia will take on Zimbabwe in the semi-finals tomorrow while Tanzania have a date against South Africa after they finished as runners-up in the group.
Coach Charles Haluboono said the team needed to stay focused to beat Zimbabwe and book a final spot.