Wednesday Jun 23, 2021. 16:00
Shepolopolo Zambia coach Bruce Mwape is optimistic they can still secure a quality pre-Olympic Games friendly despite the cancellation of next weeks’ international away date in England against fellow Tokyo finalists Team GB.
The Team GB versus Shepolopolo friendly was scheduled for July 1 at Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium.
But the friendly has been cancelled due to the mandatory14-day Covid-19 quarantine required for anyone travelling from Zambia.
“At the moment, there is nothing much that we can do,” Mwape said after Wednesday morning training in Lusaka.
“We just have to deal with the teams that will be ready to play against us.
“I am sure before the start of the Olympics Games we will be able to play one or two friendlies when we get to Tokyo but that will be a bit late because we needed to assess our players as early as possible.
“But for now, there is nothing else that we can do.”
The friendly was expected to be Shepolopolo’s second pre-Olympics warm-up international since April 10 when they lost 3-1 away to Banyana Banyana South Africa in Johannesburg.
Shepolopolo will be making their debut appearance at the Olympics Women’s Football Tournament.
Mwape’s team is in Group F alongside Brazil, China and 2019 Women’s FIFA World Cup runners-up Holland.
Shepolopolo will kick-off their Group F campaign on July 21 against Holland in Miyagi.
“What we are now actually telling the players is that we should just get ready for the tournament, especially the first game. The first game is important because if we can manage to win the first match, then I think we will be OK,” Mwape said.