Zambia President Edgar Lungu has heaped praise on the women’s national team despite their exit from the Tokyo Olympic Games on Tuesday.
The Copper Queens, who were making their first appearance in the games, failed to reach the quarter-finals after losing 1-0 against Brazil in their final Group F match at Saitama Stadium.
Zambia under coach Bruce Mwape were stopped by the South American giants after Alves Andressa scored from a well-taken free-kick in the 19th minute to end their stay in Tokyo after they had earlier lost goalkeeper Hazel Nali to injury and key defender Lushomo Mweemba to a straight red card.
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Despite the exit, Zambia’s Head of State has hailed the team’s resilience during the games saying the girls will pick many positives from Tokyo adding he was proud of what they had achieved.
“It was a great performance at the Olympics by our Copper Queens and despite bowing out of the tournament, there are many positives to pick from the young ladies,” Lungu wrote on his social media pages.
"One word that describes their performance today [Tuesday] is resilience. Despite the red card and a nasty injury to our goalkeeper, the girls remained resilient against a strong opponent. You are the quintessence of hard work, which is the true Zambian spirit.
“You kept your chin up against the best in the world. You are world-class yourselves. Well done girls. You have represented your country and continent well and we are proud of you.”
Zambia started the competition with a 10-3 defeat against the Netherlands and then they produced a gallant display to force a 4-4 draw against China in their second outing.
The team also saw their captain Barbra Banda make history by becoming the first female to score multiple hat-tricks in a single Olympic tournament having scored three goals against Netherlands and three against China.