Senegal 1 (2) Zambia 1 (4)
Morocco 2 Botswana 1
Thursday, July 14
Nigeria v Cameroon (8pm)
South Africa v Tunisia (11pm)
They fell 0-5 to the Uganda Crested Cranes in a practice match earlier this month but Zambia’s national football women team, the Copper Queens, rose to the occasion that mattered most as they dumped Senegal 4-2 on penalties to qualify for the semifinals of the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.
With this victory, the Copper Queens also booked their ticket to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals due in Australia and New Zealand.
In the first quarterfinal match played Wednesday (July 13), the Copper Queens came from a goal down to hold Senegal 1-1 and went on to win the dramatic penalty shoot-out after extra-time in Casablanca.
Zambian goalkeeper Natasha Nali was the Copper Queens’ hero after saving one of the spot-kicks and then stepping up to convert the winning penalty.
On a lighter note, the Copper Queens’ victory over Senegal was a sweet revenge for the Uganda Crested Cranes who lost 0-2 to the Senegalese in the group stage. Indeed, the news of Zambia’s victory over the West African nation was warmly received in the Ugandan football fraternity. Zambia is only East and Central African nation remaining the competition.
The Crested Cranes and Burundi, who were the other finalists in this WAFCON, exited the tournament at the group stages. The Crested Cranes lost to Morocco (1-3), Senegal (0-2) and drew 2-2 with Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, hosts Morocco also booked their world cup slot and WAFCON semifinal berth after beating Botswana 2-1 in Rabat in the second quarterfinal match on Wednesday night.
Action continues Thursday, July 14 with Cameroon taking on Nigeria and South Africa battling Tunisia in the remaining quarterfinal games.