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‘Zambia to cope with Barbra Banda absence’

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Zambia coach Bruce Mwape hopes his side can learn to cope without captain Barbra Banda at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon).

After striker Banda was ruled out on medical grounds on the eve of the tournament, the Copper Queens held Cameroon to a 0-0 draw in their Group B opener on Sunday.

“This is a team sport; it is not an individual sport,” Mwape said.

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“We need to play as a team and whoever is present should actually play to our plan.

“On Barbra, I think we can say we are missing her but next time I think we can show we are a better team.”

Banda, 22, netted back-to-back hat-tricks at the Olympic Games last year and had been tipped to star for Zambia at Wafcon in Morocco.

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“I’ll say the absence of our captain Barbra hurts her much,” Zambia midfielder Margret Belemu said.

“But we want to make her proud.”

Meanwhile, Zambia strikers Ochumba Oseke and Siomala Mapepa missed the match against the Indomitable Lionesses through suspension and are expected to face Tunisia today.

“I’m sure if those players join us in the next game you’ll be able to see a difference,” Mwape said.

Elsewhere in Group B, Tunisia scored after just 15 seconds on their way to a 4-1 triumph over debutants Togo.— BBC

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