The Copper Queens from Zambia are an ambitious women’s team, who have a chance of entering the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and New Zealand 2023 should they win the African Cup of Nations. Let’s learn more about the team and find out whether you should place your bets on them.
Zambia Women’s Team
The Zambian Women’s National soccer team is called Shepolopolo (nicknamed as the “Copper Queens”), with Bruce Mwape as their coach. The top striker’s name is Rachael Kundananji, the keeper is Hazel Nali.
The age of players in the team ranges from 19 to 26. Most Shepolopolo’s members come from two successful Zambian clubs − Army-sponsored Green Buffaloes F.C. and Lusaka-based Red Arrows F.C.
In February, the team Zambia became a team to beat after topping their Tokyo Olympics performance with back-to-back Women’s AFCON qualification.
Shepolopolo’s Rise To Success
Shepolopolo may be considered trailblazer in many ways. In 2019, the team and its junior counterparts have reached the COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) Senior Women’s and Under 20 Cup final respectively for the first time in Zambia’s history. The tournament ran simultaneously in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
After qualifying for Morocco’s final on away goal rule after a 1-1 draw with Namibia on February 22, 2022 in Johannesburg, which ended with the same aggregate score, Zambia went to two consecutive women’s AFCONs for the first time.
Recall that coach Mwape has curated three consecutive qualifying tournaments since taking over the position in 2017, when he led Shepolopolo to WAFCON 2018 in Ghana, the 2020 Olympic Games, and now WAFCON 2022, which is taking place in Morocco from July 2-23.
Right now the team is in Group B where they have played Cameroon (0-0), Tunisia (1-0), and are to play Togo. The campaign against the Indomitable Lionesses in Casablanca kicked off on July 3.
According to a new betting site in Zambia, the women’s team is quite prospective and has decent chances of winning. These platforms expertly collect the most up-to-date information regarding top tier sporting events, with African Cup of Nations being one of them.
The remaining match is Zambia vs. Togo upcoming on July 9, on the same day Tunisia will face Cameroon. Shepolopolo’s most recent ranking according to FIFA’s official World Rankings is 103, with the highest one being 94 in 2021.
African Cup of Nations
The African Cup of Nations is held every two years. The competition is as old as the Confederation of African Football itself. The first tournament was held in 1957 in Khartoum with only three teams – Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. South Africa was also planning to play in the tournament. Over time, the competition expanded across the entire Africa. The winner would qualify for the Confederations Cup. From 2013 onwards, the tournament began to be held in odd-numbered years and thus ceased to be held in World Cup years.
Women’s AFCON (also known as WAFCON) will be held from July 2 to 23, 2022 in the Kingdom of Morocco. This is the 14th edition of the African international women’s football tournament. The country hosts WAFCON for the first time and returns to competition after a pause of 22 years.
The top four teams on AFCON will qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
Shepolopolo’s Chances Of Winning The African Cup Of Nations
Each Shepolopolo team will receive $21,500 in bonuses if they reach the 2022 women’s AFCON finals. At the Shepolopolo send-off dinner in Lusaka, FAZ President Andrew Kamanga said the bonuses are cumulative and will accrue as they succeed in each of their six matches if they make it out of the group stage and through the entire knockout phase.
The top two finishers from the three group tournaments advance to the quarterfinals, and the top two third-place finishers from the 12 championship teams also advance to the final eight.
The team are counting on their skipper, the shooting star Barbra Banda to help them win their first FIFA Women’s World Cup. Last year, she went down in history by becoming the first player to score two consecutive hat-tricks at a women’s Olympic soccer tournament.
They have already beaten Tunisia at Madibaz stadium on July 6 thanks to second half substitute Avell Chitundu, who grabbed a stoppage time goal. Zambia’s forward Ochumba Oseke Lubanji, Xiomara Mapepa and Hazel Nali all made a valuable contribution to the game.