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FILE PHOTO: Barbra Banda of Zambia celebrates after scoring her team's first goal during a past match. /CFP

Nigeria, Zambia qualify for women’s Olympic football tournament

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Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Zambia’s Copper Queens will represent Africa at this year’s women’s Olympic football tournament after both sides overcame South Africa and Morocco, respectively, in their playoff matches.

Nigeria held South Africa to a goalless draw in their second-leg match in Pretoria on Tuesday to advance 1-0 on aggregate. This will be Nigeria’s fifth appearance at the tournament and a first since the 2008 Games in Beijing.

After the game, Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum praised his team’s performance against their rivals, adding that he was already looking ahead to prepare the team in the best way possible to advance from a difficult group.

“I think the team did everything that we asked them to do to get the result. We knew that South Africa really had to come at us. We respect their strength and we respect their team very much. We know what their qualities are,” Waldrum said.

On Wednesday, Zambia stunned Morocco.

Zambian captain Barbra Banda converted a penalty in extra time to secure a 2-0 win and a 3-2 aggregate victory for Zambia. Banda’s first goal seven minutes before halftime kept her team in the tie and sent the match to extra time.

The president of the Football Association of Zambia, Andrew Kamanga congratulated the team on its qualification and pledged to ensure the team is adequately prepared for the Olympic Games.

“As always, we will stick to our well-established routine of organizing quality preparations for our team ahead of the tournament. For now, we will allow the team to suck in the moment before we get down to work again,” Kamanga said.

Zambia will play in Group B alongside the United States, Germany, and Australia, while Nigeria will face off against Spain, Japan, and Brazil in Group C.

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