Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Zambia 4-1 Togo: Zambia heading to first ever quarter-finals at WAFCON

Posted on 9 July 2022 by Alasdair Howorth
Image courtesy of CAF Media.

Zambia sealed top spot and qualification to the knockout stage of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations following a dominant victory over debutants Togo.

The Copper Queens can now look forward to a quarter-final tie against Senegal and will back themselves to beat the West Africans following a thrilling attacking display. The defeat leaves Togo leaving the competition in the first round, but having scored a goal in everyone of their games and taking a point off of Cameroon, they will go home with plenty of positives.

Story of the match

It didn’t take long for the match to see it’s first incident. Within 30 seconds Siomala Mapepa was brought down in the box. But Ame Amouklou made a strong save to deny Lushomo Mweemba.

The Copper Queens were not deterred by their early miss. They pressed high and created another couple of chances before they grabbed their deserved goal. Centre forward Ochumba Lubandji dropped deep, spun her marker before sliding through Grace Chanda who finished coolly.

Just six minutes later the Southern Africans doubled their lead with a near identical goal. This time, Chanda was blocked by Amouklou, but Irene Lungu was on hand to lob the keeper from 30 yards into an empty net.

Zambia had their tails up and were playing some excellent football, time and time again exploiting Togo’s high defensive line. But it was the Sparrowhawks who struck next taking everyone by surprise, especially Zambia goalkeeper Hazel Nali. Afi Woedikou’s lob into the box caught the keeper out and bounced over her into the net.

But the Zambians ended the half on top, once again beating the Togolese offside trap. Siomala Mapepa raced onto the through ball before smashing her finish into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Zambia continued with their swashbuckling football in the second half, creating chances at will while leaving themselves open at the back. Evarine Katongo coming close with her strike inside the box following some excellent work from Grace Chanda.

Lubandji finally got in on the act when she converted Mapepa’s lofted cross to take the game away from Togo and seal Zambia’s spot at the top of group B.

Zambia end the group with an impressive seven points and will play Senegal in the quarter-finals. Following Cameroon’s narrow victory over Tunisia, the West Africans came second and will likely face Nigeria in the tie of the round. Tunisia, who are also heading for their first knockout match will likely face group C leaders South Africa in the final match of the quarter-finals.

Stand out player

Siomala Mapepa was at her thrilling best against Togo. The pacey, winger who is linked with a move to Sweden, was a constant threat with her pace in behind and quality end product. She scored a lovely goal and picked up an assist for the Copper Queens on their way to the quarter-finals.

Line ups

Zambia – Nali (gk), Mweeba, Belemu, Lubandji, Chanda (c), Mapepa, Katongo, Tembo, Lungu, Musase, Chitundu

Substitutes – Zulu, Sosala

Togo – Amouklou (gk), Kaglan, Gake, Gnintegma, Woedikou (c), Sama, Assigno, Houndjo-Tete, Konou, Kadanga, Gace

Substitutes – Dogli, Dogbe, Yaya, Adinda-Akpo, N’djambara