Monday Jul 12, 2021. 11:57
Shepolopolo Zambia striker Rachel Kundananji cannot wait to live her Olympic dream.
The fiery Shepolopolo striker and her teammates are heading to Tokyo to make history as Zambia’s first female team to play in the Olympics Women’s Football Tournament.
Shepolopolo are also the first Zambian football team at the Olympics since the men’s outing just across the Sea of Japan at Seoul 1988.
Kundanjanji, of Kazakhstan side BIIK Kazygurt, scored two goals in a grueling four-round qualifying phase that saw Shepolopolo win six, draw one and lose one game on the road to Japan.
“It is a great honour to be part of the squad and to participate in the Olympic Games because it is a dream come true for me,” Kundananji said.
“My expectations are high; we are going there to compete and not just to participate as the Zambia women’s national team
“We are going to give them all a great run because we have been preparing for this for a very long time.”
Shepolopolo secured Africa’s lone automatic Olympic berth in March, 2020 after eliminating favourites Cameroon when they overturned a 3-2 away loss to win 2-1 at home to qualify on away goals rule.
Zambia is Africa’s only Olympic representative after Cameroon later failed to qualify via a play-off against South American opponents Chile.
Meanwhile, Shepolopolo has had to wait for over a year to finally realize their Olympic dream after The Games were postponed last summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shepolopolo are in Group F where they are drawn against Brazil, China and Holland.
Bruce Mwape’s side will open the tournament against 2019 FIFA World Cup runners-up Holland on July 21 in Miyagi.