… as Nigeria battle Cameroon on Tuesday
Holders Nigeria and South Africa have joined Mali and Cameroon at the semi-finals of the competition after the completion of the group stage.
South Africa who beat Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in their first two Group B games, needed just a draw to progress and they did just that against neighbours Zambia, with both teams settling for a 1-1 draw in the Group B ultimate clash at the Accra sports stadium.
Nigeria on the other hand accounted for Equatorial Guinea 6-0 on Saturday in Cape Coast to seal the second spot and join the South Africans at the last four.
Tournament sensation Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana broke the deadlock for South Africa in the seventh minute with a thunderbolt that caught the Zambia goalie off guard. But the lead lasted only two minutes as the Zambians clawed their way back into the game with the equalizer through Rachael Kundananji.
Both coaches made some changes to their respective teams in their quest to alter the the score line especially Zambia who had the better of the exchanges in the second half, but all to no avail as the game ended 1-1.
In the other Group B game, defending champions Nigeria whitewashed Equatorial Guinea 6-0, an action that saw Asisat Oshoala grabbing a hat-trick. It was the successive win for Nigeria, who recovered from a lone goal defeat to South Africa in the opening match and book their place in style.
Fransisca Ordega opened the scoring for Nigeria in the eight minute before the Oshoala show started. The forward scored in the 12th, 21st and 32nd minutes to end the first half 4-0 for the holders.
Back from recess and Nigeria will continue from where they left off and it took them just three minutes to score their fifth, this time Desire Oparanozie getting on the score sheet.
Rita Chikwelu put the final nail in the coffin of Equatorial Guinea with the sixth goal in the 63rd minute.
Banyana Banyana topped the group with seven points with the Super Falcons trailing on six points. Zambia amassed four points and Equatorial Guinea in that order pointless.
Total Woman of the Match: Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa)
Total Woman of the Match: Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
Desiree Ellis (Head Coach, South Africa)
It was a tough game for us despite the result. We did not play too well in this game and we have to go back to the drawing board to correct all those mistakes we made in the game.
Zambia team is a good one and they gave us a good game, one that helped us to notice some key areas that need to be looked at before we meet Mali on Tuesday.
We are not there yet and still not satisfied because we have not reached our goal of qualifying to the FIFA Women’s World Cup so there is nothing to celebrate for now. Coming into the tournament we knew that we had five available games to play to get the trophy and we have successfully gone through with three.
The seminal is our final match because if we win that then automatically we achieve our dream of qualifying to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. We know the Mali game is going to be tougher than any of the games we have played so far because they are also a determined team with the same dream of making it to the final. We are looking forward to the game and hopefully we will achieve our dream after that.
Bruce Mwape (Head Coach, Zambia)
Despite the fact that we are out of the competition, we did our best as a team. The first game was wonderful against Equatorial Guinea, but we failed to replicate it against Nigeria and we lost. Today, my girls did their best to get the win, but we could only end with a draw.
South Africa is good side and they have done well so far so playing a draw against them is good result for us. Our competition is over but we are taking a lot of positives from this tournament back to Zambia.
We knew before the competition that our group was going to be very tough one and that is exactly how it turned out. Notwithstanding, we are proud of our performance, and like I said we will build on it for future competitions.