By Bennie Mundando

THE Zambia national women’s soccer team this afternoon sent a clear message to the opponents at this year’s COSAFA women championship that they are not in the competition for jokes but as real contenders to the coveted prize when they beat Lesotho 8-0 in their opening match.

The game was played at the Isaac Wolfson stadium in South Africa.

A hatrick for skipper Barbara Banda and Grace Chanda’s brace plus a goal each from Maylan Mulenga, Priscah Chilufya, and Ireen Lungu were enough to complete the route and ensure maximum points for the Copper Queens.

Zambia went for the half time break leading 1-0 thanks to Banda’s strike but it was in the second half where goals rained with Banda and Chanda dismantling the opponent’s defense at ease and making scoring look easy with their relentless attacks.

Banda scored her second goal with 52 minutes played and the team never backpedaled but continued mounting pressure for more goals.

Three minutes after Banda’s goal, Chilufya scored the third goal after benefiting from a Banda tee which she controlled brilliantly before beating the goalkeeper and released a thunderbolt into the yawning goal as opposing defenders watched haplessly.

Zambia continued searching for more goals with their wave-after-wave attacks as they literally camped in Lesotho’s own half while the back-line successfully thwarted pockets of orchestrated threats from the opponents.

The Copper Queens struck again with 64 minutes played when substitute Mulenga made it 4-0 with a well-worked out move from up the pitch before Grace Chanda made it 5-0 after flooring her opponent and blasted the ball into the right corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Banda completed her hatrick just before the cooling break to make it 6-0 with a sublime finish which beat the onrushing goalkeeper to put the match way beyond the opponents’ reach and immediately after the cooling break, Chanda completed her brace and made it 7-0.

But Zambia was not done yet as Lungu completed the 8-0 thriller at the stroke of full time to complete a sweet, emphatic victory.

Zambia had a total of 30 shorts with 12 of them on target, yielding 8 goals while Lesotho had a paltry 4 shots with only one on target and without a goal.

Zambia’s next match is against Malawi on Monday next week at 12:30. Other games played so far in the tournament saw eSwatini beating Comoros 4-2 while South Africa beat Angola 2-0.

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