Decision Time for Namibia 2014 Slots

The seven teams to join hosts Namibia for the “TN Mobile African Women’s Championship Namibia 2014” will be revealed this weekend as the curtain on the qualifiers folds up.

But before the second leg matches of the second round, South Africa has already booked their place for the final tournament following the withdrawal of Comoros, who suffered a 13-0 loss in the first leg in Mitsamiouli a fortnight ago.

The Islanders have thrown-in the towel earlier than expected giving the Banyana Banyana the right of being the first to confirm their participation in the ninth edition of the continent’s showpiece women’s football tournament besides the host nation.

With South Africa confirmed, Zambia are also eyeing a historic maiden appearance at the biennial championship, but have to brush aside neighbours Zimbabwe to realize that dream.

The She-polopolo, flying on the wings of a recent turnaround in women’s football in Zambia, appear on course after stunning the Mighty Warriors 1-0 win in the first leg in Harare. This is the closest the Zambians have come towards their long-cherished dream of rubbing shoulders with the big guns of women’s football on the same stage, a platform their male counterparts, Chipolopolo, are very much familiar with and were even crowned continental champions in 2012.

It is in this line that coach Charles Bwale, is taking no chances for Saturday’s encounter billed for the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, and has handed a call-up to defender Ethel Chama for the decisive clash. Despite a 1-0 aantage, Bwale insists there is more to play for in the return leg against the Zimbabweans.

“We are working on the strike force and defence. We don’t want to allow any goals but add to what we have already,” he told the local media.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe have been boosted by the return of head coach Rosemary Mugadza from a compassionate leave after the death of her brother. The Mighty Warriors are hoping to break a 10-year jinx of no-show at the final tournament by fighting back to overturn the first leg loss.

Mugadza remains upbeat her charges can turn things around against the Zambians in Lusaka and offer Zimbabwean football fans something to cheer about following the ouster of their male counterparts from the Orange AFCON 2015 qualifiers by Tanzania last week.

“The morale is better among the players after that defeat and we hope we will turn the tables. It is possible to win like Zambia managed to do. We can also do it and score past them at their home,” she told the Herald newspaper.

Reigning champions, Equatorial Guinea will face Cote d’Ivoire in Malabo whilst Nigeria are highly favoured to complete a double over visiting Rwanda in Kaduna after a 4-1 win from the first leg.

Cameroon have a tricky tie against Senegal in Yaounde on Sunday whereas Tunisia contends with Algeria in Bizerte to decide on the sole North African representative for the final tournament.

In the northern city of Tamale, Ghana’s Black Queens will be seeking to complete a double over Ethiopia to go through. The Ghanaians won the first leg in Addis Ababa 2-0.

The final tournament will be held from 11-24 October and also serves the continental qualifier for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada next year.

Source : Confederation of African Football