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Olympic qualification on the line as Zambia tackle Cameroon

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Olympic qualification on the line as Zambia tackle Cameroon - Sports Leo

Zambia captain and goalkeeper Hazel Nali said it does or die time against Cameroon in their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Women’s Tournament, final round qualifier in Yaounde on Thursday evening.

Cameroon will host Zambia before heading to Lusaka for the final leg on March 10.

One-and-a-half places are up for grabs with the victor collecting the CAF zone’s automatic qualifying spot, while the loser will face South American zone qualifiers runners-up Chile in a play-off for the bonus ticket.

“Everyone knows this is a big game. We have reached a stage where we have not reached before and you have to consider the fact that there are now just two teams remaining in Africa’s Olympic qualifiers,” Nali said.

Unlike Cameroon, who have been to the Olympics in 2012 in London, Zambia a seeking a historic first for the Copper Queens.

“I think it is a big game and we are both in the spotlight and I believe whoever wants it most will qualify to the Olympics, “Nali said.

“We have played well in the qualifiers and only conceded two goals in one game. It is a big plus and everyone knows we have to push ourselves to qualify.”

Zambia head into the last round unbeaten with four wins, a 2-2 draw away to Kenya in the penultimate stage plus a walkover away result earlier against Zimbabwe after beating the latter 5-0 in a first-round, first leg tie in Lusaka.

But 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations bronze medal winners and 2019 Women’s World Cup round of 16 teams, Cameroon, have two wins, three draws and one loss en route to their rendezvous with Zambia.

“I think everything is set, the country is looking up to us and we don’t want to disappoint the nation,” Nali added.

“Cameroon is a big team but I believe in football, the well-prepared team will carry the day.

“We have played Cameroon at the 2018 Cosafa Women’s Cup where we beat them 1-0 in the group stage and they beat us 1-0 in the semifinals so I feel we are even going into the game.

“So we just need to prepare hard to qualify because big teams like Nigeria and South Africa have both failed to qualify.”

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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