Sports

Copper Queens still ranked 10th in Africa

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
ZAMBIA’S historic qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games has seen them move up six places on the FIFA Women’s World rankings to 100 but shockingly remained stuck on 12th position in Africa.
Although currently being Africa’s sole representative at the Olympics, the Copper Queens were ranked outside the top 10 on the continent with Cameroon whom they overcame in the final round qualifier race, ranked second.
Zambia lost 2-3 in Cameroon before stunning the Indomitable Lionesses 2-1 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka to book a ticket to Tokyo on an away-goal rule.
The rankings released yesterday showed Zambia as having amassed 1, 198 points while Nigeria maintained their status as Africa’s best team and 38 in the world.
Other teams making Africa’s top 10 are South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali and Algeria.
Coach Bruce Mwape in an interview said the tremendous movement on the global scale showed that Zambian women’s football has continued to improve.
Mwape was, however, not shocked with the Copper Queens’ ranking in Africa but remained positive Zambia would soon hit the top five.
“Our previous ranking was 106th position and today we are among the top 100 teams globally. This is a great improvement. I am not shocked with our ranking in Africa because there are so many factors considered which includes the number of international friendlies played.
“If we begin to play friendly games on the FIFA calendar, we can even drop to the top five bracket. I still believe the Shepolopolo are the best in Africa despite the ranking,” he said.
He said the rankings were a challenge to players to work harder to make sure Zambia rule Africa.
World champions United States of America remained atop of the FIFA rankings, with Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and England trailing behind.

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