Harare – Fresh from their Olympics debut with the Zambia national women’s soccer team, five Green Buffaloes players will hope to bring the force of that experience to their club’s campaign in the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League zonal qualifiers for Southern Africa.
The regional eliminators run from August 26 to September 4 with seven teams battling for the sole ticket to represent Southern Africa at the continental Champions League tournament in Cairo, Egypt this year.
Namibia representatives Tura Magic, Black Rhinos Queens of Zimbabwe and Zambia’s Green Buffaloes are in Group B, from which the top two teams progress to the regional semi-finals.
While Tura Magic last played competitive football in April, and Black Rhinos Queens last tasted action in 2019, Zambia’s Green Buffaloes have a marked advantage as five of their players were part of the national team that caught the eye with determined performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The outsiders started the Games with a 3-10 thrashing at the hands of the Netherlands, before acquitting themselves admirably in a 4-ll draw with China and a narrow 0-1 loss to Brazil.
The Green Buffaloes quintet at the Games comprised of Lushomo Mweemba, Martha Tembo, Anita Mulenga, Ireen Lungu and Agness Musase.
On the Episode 26 of the Cosafa podcast show, Green Buffaloes assistant coach Carol Kanyemba said: “The Olympics brought a lot of confidence in the team. We believe in them (the players) because of the wonderful performance they put up. We hope they come back healthy to re-join the team because they have been away (for) a while.
“Systems are different from the club and the national team, so they have to blend in again with our system. The little time we have, we need to work on our co-ordination. But the morale is high, and the confidence levels are high.”
Kanyemba predicted a tough Champions League qualification campaign.
“The challenge is there because the greatest challenge is having to face a team you have not met before. We don’t know what they (opponents) are coming up with. In this competition, every team is strong in its own way because the first games against a new team are always scary. We will put in maximum effort and try our best to get out of the group.
“We have our homework to do. I can’t say there is an advantage because of the challenge. Only one team will not advance, and no one wants to be that team. There will be a lot of hard work in our group.”