Zambia - Equatorial Guinea: Shepolopolo eye ill-prepared Nzalang Nacional scalp

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Zambia FA media
The Shepolopolo will hope to start their campaign with an upset against the two-time winners

Equatorial Guinea will tackle Zambia at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday seeking to start their campaign on a winning note in this year's Africa Women Cup of Nations.

Success in their administrative battle with Kenya handed the Equatoguineans a chance to compete in the continent's major women's event for the first time this year since they won it in 2012.

Equatorial Guinea coach Jean Paul Mpila's 21-woman squad is dominated by home-based stars, with the exception of foreign-based Annette Jacky Messomo, Dorine Chuigoué and Jade Boho.

The Shepolopolo will be playing in their second Awcon in Ghana following an uninspiring outing at Namibia 2014, where they failed to progress past the group stage. They will be meeting the two-time African title winners for the first time in the competition.

SQUAD NEWS

Probable Zambia XI: Hazel Nali, Grace Zulu, Anita Mulenga, Agness Musase, Vast Phiri; Hellen Mubanga, Grace Chanda, Irene Lungu, Mary Mwakapila; Rachel Kundananji, Barbara Banda

Despite the withdrawal of Misozi Zulu due to injury, coach Bruce Mwape has a pretty squad to upset the Nzalang in Cape Coast on Sunday.

An adjustment is expected to the team that suffered a 7-0 humiliation at the hands of Cameroon in a friendly last week in Abidjan. 

The presence of Spanish-based Barbara Banda plus the superb form of Grace Chanda and Racheal Kundanaji could steer the Southern African side to their first win in the history of the tournament.

Probable Equatorial Guinea XI: Emiliana Ndong, Ghyslaine Nke, Esperanza Mba, Dorine Chuigoue; Annette Messomo, Blessing Diala, Catalina Bilelo, Catalina Engonga; Jade Boho, Genoveva Anonma, Gloria Chinasa.

Captain Genoveva Anonoma will be expected to lead her side out to victory in Cape Coast as Equatorial Guinea coach is hoping to make a winning start in charge of his side on their controversial return to the championship. 

The impressive showing of Spain's EDF Logrono duo of Jade Boho and Dorine Chuigoue plus the experience of Blessing Diala and Gloria Chinasa will certainly power the central Africans past the youthful opponent.

MATCH PREVIEW

With a ban from next year's Fifa Women's World Cup still in effect, Equatorial Guinea's key ambition is to do a spoiler for giants in Group B, including Nigeria from reaching the finals in France

And forward Gloria Chinasa is confident her side will make a good start with a win over Zambia to underline their qualities despite inadequate preparation.

"Equatorial Guinea is a big football nation so the players know that any result short of victory would be a disgrace to us, especially the senior players," Chinasa told Goal.

"The players are focused on winning and also make the country proud. We've occasions here before on several occasions and are ready to prove our worth again this year." 

Having been regarded as the underdogs, Shepolopolo are keen to prove their critics wrong and captain Barbara Banda is upbeat that her side can upset Equatorial Guinea.

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“We want to qualify to the World Cup. We are not going to Ghana as mere participants,” Banda told Goal.

“We will face Equatorial Guinea like any other team. They may look tough on paper but we won’t look at names.

“Whether it’s Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria or South Africa, we are focused and we shall conquer."

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