Goalkeeper Hazel Nali kicked the winning spot kick as Zambia qualified for a first ever Women’s World Cup finals appearance after edging Senegal 4-2 on post-match penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time in their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal in Casablanca on Wednesday.
The top four finishers at WAFCON in Morocco qualify for 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this time next year, making each of the quarterfinals at the continental finals a decisive qualifying tie.
Neither side had previously come close to World Cup qualification but Zambia did compete at last year’s Olympic women’s tournament in Tokyo, which was played at full international level.
Korka Fall missed Senegal’s first kick in the shootout while Zambia were successful with their opening three but then Lushomo Mweemba’s fourth effort was saved, allowing Senegal back into the contest.
But Nali stopped a weak effort from Awa Diakhate to keep it at 3-2 to Zambia after four kicks of the shootout each.
Nali then stepped up to take the decisive fifth kick and book the Copper Queens a trip to the World Cup, amid scenes of celebration at the Mohamed V Stadium.
Senegal took the lead just past the hour mark as Mbayang Sow’s free kick was expertly met, at the far post, by Nguenar Ndiaye as the height of the west African proved trumps amid some timid defending.
It was a lead that lasted nine minutes before a goalkeeping howler from Tening Sene allowed Zambia a deserved equaliser. – Mzansi Football