State President urges Copper Queens to hold heads high!Thomas Kwenaite
The Zambian State President send a strong message of support to the Copper Queens following their heart-breaking, last gasp 1-0 semi-final loss to South Africa through a Maserame Motlhalo penalty at the ongoing African Women Cup of Nations tournament in Morocco on Monday evening.
In the second semi-final match hosts Morocco defeated a nine-women Nigeria 5-4 in a penalty shootout after extra time following a 1-1 stalemate during regulation time in a match where two members of the Super falcons were red-carded.
In a telephonic link to their hotel in Casablanca shortly after the match, President Hakainde Hichilema was convinced the penalty awarded to Zambia was “questionable” but urged the Copper Queens to stay strong and hold their heads high, informing them further that the entire Zambian nation was proud of them.
“That first that goal was a questionable penalty,” said President Hichilema. “I think we should look at it carefully. In my view the foul was committed outside the box. But you did a fantastic job.
“I think you had a good run in the tournament up until now. The semi-final is good. You qualified for the FIFA World Cup! We are proud of you on behalf of all Zambians. Feel happy and don’t be depressed,” to wild cheers and clapping of hands from the players and technical staff.
The Zambian captain Grace Chanda responded by thanking the President for his kind words and encouragement and promised the head of State that they remain in good spirits and appreciated his support.
“We want to thank you your Excellency,” responded captain Grace Banda. “The team remain in good spirit and we look forward to the game coming up (bronze medal match against Nigeria on Saturday). But above all we are appreciative of your support.”
To which the President responded that the girls should stay strong and play the game to the best of their abilities. He urged them not to be distracted by the decisions taken against them in the match against South Africa but to go about their business-like professionals.
“Mulimbe (Stay strong) my ladies. You’ve done a fantastic job. You made us Zambians very proud. You really have nothing to be apologetic about except that you’ve done a good job.
Next time you will be there,” urged Hichilema.
“Just play the game you love so much, you love soccer and so go out and play with your hearts, with your mind, and with your body. Do what you have decided to do as professional soccer players. And we are all behind you.
Once again well done and don’t be depressed. You’ve done truly well. Remain strong, you are professionals and professionals behave in a certain way when they have not won a game like this one where its contestable whether that was a penalty or not. You just keep your heads high. Congratulations to the coaching as well. You have our full support.”