COACH Osward Mutapa has regretted the under-20 women’s national team exit from the 2016 Papua New Guinea World Cup race.
Mutapa said from Johannesburg yesterday that the junior She-polopolo conceded needless goals in the 3-2 defeat to South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.
“We are disappointed that we are out of the race,” he said.
Mutapa said his team struggled to stamp authority in the first half.
“We did not play well in the first half, we allowed an early goal within 30 seconds we were down but we raised our tempo in the second half and we played well. But the problem was with our defending,” he said.
Mutapa said there is need to maintain the team.
“There is no doubt the future of women football in Zambia is bright, the under-20 players must be kept intact and busy. We have very good players in the team, what has happened is a setback.
“We created a lot of scoring chances but we failed to make use of them. We should have won the game. I knew that we were going to score but our defence let us down,” he said.
The first leg in Lusaka on September 27 ended goalless.
The South Africans started brightly scoring after 30 seconds through Linda Motlhalo.
After the restart, Zambia silenced the home crowd when skipper Barbara Banda equalised with a cool finish past goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru.
Mosili Makhoali restored Basetsana’s lead in the 56th minute.
Two minutes later, substitute, Agnes Musesa made it 2-all.
Makhoali scored the winning goal on 73 minutes.
The win was sweet revenge for South Africa after Zambia edged them for a slot at the 2014 Costa Rica Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
The team returned home last night.
And Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development Vincent Mwale bemoaned the team’s elimination.
Mwale, however, said the team’s performance is evident that women football is making strides in the country.
“It is very unfortunate that our team has been eliminated but they are slowly proving to be a strong team. South Africa has a very well structured women’s league and their women are funded. We hope we too can get sponsorship for the women, otherwise they went down fighting against a strong side,” he said.