Zambia ‘up for challenge’ of daunting Spain task

Zambia captain Barbra Banda insisted Tuesday her team was up to the daunting task of beating Spain to keep their Women’s World Cup dream alive despite being without regular goalkeeper Catherine Musonda.

The Copper Queens were smashed 5-0 by a well-oiled Japan in their opening clash and a second defeat on Wednesday in Auckland could spell doom.

Should they lose and Japan win or draw against Costa Rica, Zambia’s campaign will be over.

“Spain is not a pushover team, we are expecting a tough game but we are up for the challenge,” said Banda, who plies her trade with Chinese side Shanghai Shengli.

“We’ve looked into our mistakes from the previous game and we are just hoping to collect the maximum three points.

“We started with a loss but that doesn’t mean that we have to look down on ourselves,” she added.

“We have two more games and are still motivated as a team and encouraging each other that we can still go through to the next round.”

To stand any chance against Spain, who comfortably beat Costa Rica 3-0 in their tournament opener, Zambia will need to improve in every department, starting with their leaky defence.

They also need to be more creative up front, failing to produce a single clear chance against Japan despite Banda’s undoubted ability as a goalscorer.

Adding to their woes, first-choice goalkeeper Musonda will miss the game after being sent off on the dying stages of the Japan clash, with Eunice Sakala set to replace her.

“In the previous game, we got a lot of experience, Japan was very disciplined and I think we have learned something from that,” said Banda. “We are just hoping to implement a good mentality.”

Zambia are the lowest-ranked team at the 32-nation tournament and boast one of the youngest squads.

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