Indeni Sports Complex also known as The Cage, in Ndola hosted a fierce Local Derby as Indeni Roses Welcomed Zesco United Women Football Club in the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Women’s League Copperbelt Region Week 17 Encounter as pride and Superiority was at stake.
With Only 3 Points separating these two sides and 5 games remaining before the league ends, The Roses were craving for maximum points to close in the gap and catch up with log leaders Zesco who went into this game looking comfortable to even pick up a point.
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The game started on a fast and physical note an indication which showed that both sides needed an early goal to unsettle the other which proved to be so elusive as no clear cut chances were created in the opening stages of the match.
It was the home team who came close to scoring through Onga Namukwasa but her shot was off target and nothing much to trouble a steady Ngambo Musole in goal for Zesco. Both teams gave each other a tough time and was a 50-50 state of affairs in terms of ball possession.
Penelope Mulubwa, Astrida Pupe And Avel Chitundu were a threat in the Indeni half and had great scoring opportunities but credit must go to the hardworking Grace Zulu the Roses’ captain and her back line comprising of Grace Nanyinza, Jackeline Nkole who at some point almost scored from a direct free kick And Mwaka Namwala made it difficult for the Zesco trio to penetrate and not given enough chance and space to trouble Mary Nanyinza in goal who was the busier of the two goalkeepers but she managed to put up some excellent saves to deny Zega Girls a goal.
The battle line was in the midfield as well as the wings, The Roses had the experienced Rhoda Chileshe, Sara Moyo who later paved way for Zamiwe Mukokomena. On the Right wing, Misozi Zulu who was highly policed and the excellent Theresa Chewe On the left wing with her great runs were up against a resilient Chabu, Natasha Witika, Astrida Pupe and Avel Chitundu who were excellent throughout the game.
The first 45 minutes ended scoreless.
The second half started from were the first ended from very Physical with high intensity as expected with Zesco being more dangerous going forward.
After a few minutes played in the second half, Coach Zulu rested Dorothy Mukatasha and brought in the enterprising Happy Pinto as he hoped she could be the game changer who could have eventually been a hero of the day as she resurrected and brought more life in the Zesco front line teaming up well with Mulubwa and Chitundu.
Her first touch and contribution was a thunderbolt in the 18 Yard Box which was well parried off for a corner kick by Nanyinza with her finger tips after a quick reflex reaction.
Moments later, Noria Sosala was adjudged to have handled the ball near the centre line and Vast Phiri the set piece taker stepped up for the resultant free kick and pumped the ball in the 18 yard box to find a quick Pinto who was not properly marked and she managed to beat a host of Roses defenders for pace with a quick flicked on header to put the ball behind the net and in the process collided with an On-Rushing Nanyinza who came out late from her line and had to be taken off and replaced by Catherine Musonda who equally had a nice game.
But unfortunately Pinto’s goal was ruled out by the referee after consultation with the 4th Official which infuriated the Technical bench, some Fans and the players and even led to the first caution of the game as Musole was Yellow-Carded after protesting to the referee about the controversial decision not to award a goal.
From this moment the tempo of the game increased, tempers flared, voices were on top as both sides wanted to own bragging rights over the other.
Witika who produced a player of the match Performance was a victim of some rough challenges which led to Mukokomena a second half substitute as well as Chileshe being booked because of hard tackles on her.
Indeni started piling more pressure towards the dieing minutes of the game and threw hard balls in the Zesco Box with the likes of Zulu, Chileshe and Mupeta who replaced Mwaka Namwala coming so close to score but were unlucky as quick reaction from Zesco defence led by Vast Phiri alongside Miniva Chitina, Jane Chewe and Elizabeth Chisanga and Musole behind the sticks denied them a goal as they cleared their line.
Zulu substituted Pupe and brought in Thandiwe Ndhlovu to try and wither the storm in the dying minutes of the game. Both sides had some scoring opportunities in to score in both halves but they failed to yield the much needed goals.
After 90+4 added minutes, the referee decided enough was enough and blew the final whistle as the match ended in a stalemate draw sharing spoils. Zesco were a more happier side with a draw looking at their remaining opponents while this result meant that the Roses must make sure they don’t drop points in their next 5 games to be in high contention for the league title.
Player Of The Match : Natasha Witika (Zesco Girls).
Indeni Roses Starting XI
Mary Nanyinza (Catherine Musonda), Grace Nanyinza, Jackeline Nkole, Mwaka Namwala (Mwaka Mupeta), Grace Zulu(C), Rhoda Chileshe, Misozi Zulu, Sarah Moyo (Zamiwe Mukokomena), Noria Sosala, Esther Namukwasa, Theresa Chewe.
Substitute Bench : Catherine Musonda(Mary Nanyinza), Naomi Chiwele, Zamiwe Mukokomena(Sara Moyo), Moga, Mwaka Mupeta(Mwaka Namwala).
Head Coach : Benson Chambeshi
Zesco United Women Football Club Starting XI
Ngambo Musole(C), Miniva Chitina, Jane Chewe, Elizabeth Chisanga, Vast Phiri, Chabu, Astrida Pupe(Thandiwe Ndhlovu), Natasha Witika, Dorothy Mukatasha(Happy Pinto) , Penelope Mulubwa, Avel Chitundu.
Substitute Bench : Diase Mwale, Happy Pinto(Dorothy Mukatasha), Musonda Sakala, Melody Kapimpi, Thandiwe Ndhlovu(Astrida Pupe), Esther Mushota, Beatrice Kasongo.
Head Coach : William Zulu