Zambia has played only one women̵7;s world cup match and already have their third line goalkeeper.
Hazel Nali was ruled out of the Women’s World Cup due to a torn ACL just days before Zambia made her tournament debut.
She was replaced by relief goalkeeper Catherine Musonda, but the backup picked up her second yellow card – which essentially equates to a red card and disqualification for the next match – when she fouled Japanese striker Reiko Ueki in the closing minutes of Zambia’s 5–0 tournament-opening defeat.
Groove was a star for the Copper Queens 18 Career International Performance and the only Zambian keeper to play outside the country.
The job therefore went to Younis Sakala, who replaced Musonda in the ensuing penalty kick and before Japan scored at the final whistle. Those last minutes were the international debut for the 21-year-old, who will have to carry the load against Spain in Auckland on Wednesday.
The Spaniards, ranked sixth in the world, began their tournament with an impressive 3-0 win over Costa Rica. This will be Sakala’s toughest competition yet – she is used to playing among less talented players Zambian Premier League,
“There is nothing we can do but use the players we have,” Zambia coach Bruce Mwape said on Tuesday. “We have Younes as a replacement against Spain.”
Mwape was unclear who would replace Sakala in the nightmare scenario Zambia needed a fourth keeper, but 18-year-old keeper Leticia Lungu was called up to the national squad after the loss of Nali.
“There is also another (goalkeeper) who is on standby,” Mwape said. “He will be on the bench. If something happens, we still have another goalkeeper to replace.”