Football: Zambia Make Olympic Debut After CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Victory

The 2020 CAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament concluded today with Zambia qualifying to their first Olympic appearance. Overall, there were five rounds where teams faced off against each other in a two-legged tie. Only the winner qualified directly to the Olympics. The first matches began on April 3rd 2019 while the final match concluded on March 10th 2020.

The first nation to reach the final was Zambia. The nation received a bye during the first round after Angola withdrew and did not play the second match against Zimbabwe after winning the first match 5-0 due to Zimbabwe’s players protesting their federation. The third round was against Botswana who upset South Africa on penalty kicks in the previous round. Zambia won both matches 1-0 and 2-0 to advance to the fourth round. Similarly, their opponent, Kenya had reached this round thanks to an extra-time goal against the favoured Ghana. After drawing 2-2 on the first game, Zambia’s Lushomo Mweemba was the only goal scorer during the second match to win the game 1-0 and thus 3-2 on aggregate.

The other finalist was Cameroon who during the first round received a bye due to being one of the highest ranked nation on the continent. Their second round opponent, Ethiopia drew them twice, 1-1 and 0-0. Cameroon advanced due to having more away goals. The third round against the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw Cameroon win their first match 2-0. The second match had Congo build up a 2-0 lead, but an 82nd minute goal by Ajara Nchout prevented the tie from going to extra-time as Cameroon won 3-2 on aggregate. A shocking loss by African powerhouse Nigeria to Cote d’Ivoire during the third round meant Cameroon faced the latter team during the fourth round. After drawing 0-0 on the first match the two nations traded goals before an 84th minute penalty kick by Nchout gave Cameroon a 2-1 victory to advance to the fifth and final round.

The first match between Cameroon and Zambia was a see-saw match with both nations taking the lead at one point. A final minute goal by Gabrielle Onguene gave Cameroon the 3-2 victory. The return match in Zambia saw the host nation take a 2-0 lead at half-time. While Cameroon scored a stoppage goal to tie the aggregate 4-4, Zambia qualified to the Olympics due to having more away goals.

Cameroon will have a second opportunity to qualify to the Olympics in an inter-continental match against Chile to be held in April.

Qualified Nations

Women’s Tournament
* Zambia

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