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Zambia women safely return home after 30-day lockdown in Chile

20:14 GMT 28/12/2020
Grace Chanda and Zambia's Shepolopolo
The remaining delegation of the Copper Queens finally reunited with their families on Monday a month after they left for Santiago

Zambia women's team were welcomed back home on Monday following after being locked down in Chile for over a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Zambian delegation left for Santiago to battle Jose Letelier's ladies in double-header friendlies on November 24 as part of their build-up to their maiden Olympic campaign in Tokyo next year.

Two days later, Barbra Banda and Racheal Nachula's second-half efforts helped the Copper Queens silence the South Americans 2-1 at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo.
 
However, hours before the kickoff of the second meeting between the two teams on December 1, the encounter was called off after some member of the Zambian delegation tested positive for Covid-19.

With up to 10 players affected, the whole team were immediately forced into isolation for 14 days by local health authorities.

On December 16, a number of squad members were released after their tests returned negative, including Zaragoza duo of Hellen Mubanga and Nachula, leaving behind six.

The remaining six Zambians, which consisted of three officials and three players - Banda, Grace Chanda and Maylan Mulenga - were eventually freed to depart Santiago on Saturday.

The six reunited with the families on arriving at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka on Monday. 

Despite the month-long lockdown experience, Bruce Mwape's team will take solace in their triumph over La Roja on their first meeting.

The victory, plus a third-place Cosafa Cup finish, also saw the Copper Queens move up five places to 95th position in the world and are now ranked the 11th in Africa in the December rankings.