Zambia’s national women’s football team are through to their first FIFA World Cup appearance. They qualified for the semi-final on Wednesday at the Stade Mohamed V and by virtue of that victory qualified for a first-ever World Cup to be staged in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

Zambia participated at the 2020 Olympic Games but had never qualified for the World Cup. 

The 2023 WAFCON was their fourth qualification for the African tourney where their best was a quarter-final showing in 1995.

Senegal were at their second WAFCON after their first appearance in 2012.

Zambia qualified without their talismanic captain, Barbra Banda, whose testosterone levels were adjudged to be above the level allowed by CAF though Banda captained Zambia at the Olympics where she scored two hat tricks. She should now be available for the World Cup.

Senegal went ahead on the hour and unsurprisingly it was from a header from Nguenar Ndiaye from a free kick.

Avell Chitundu got the equaliser for the Copper Queens in the 70th minute after Senegal goalkeeper Tening Sene Afa fumbled a long free kick, leaving Chitundu with the easy task of heading into an empty net. The very physical encounter had 28 fouls and four yellow cards and went into extra time.

Martha Tembo made a timely clearance in the 113th minute as substitute Korka Fall prepared to pull the trigger. Fall then had a tame effort which was comfortably gathered by Hazel Nali. Habsatou Diallo had an attempt but Senegal goalkeeper Afa had to tip over from Ochumba Lubandji as the extra time wore down. 

Lushomo Mweemba smashed a header against the crossbar with one minute left on the clock.

On to the penalty shootout and Zambia had a heroine in goalkeeper Nail, who saved two kicks and scored the deciding penalty to send the She-polopolo to the 2023 FIFA World Cup. 

Senegal still have the chance to qualify through the playoffs, which will be announced by FIFA at the end of the month.

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