The hosts threatened as early as the second minute when Erina Jeke skied a half volley from the six-yard box after a quick sweeping move down the right flank.
The homers nearly broke the deadlock in the 16th minute after Basopo tried a shot-cum -cross which almost caught the visitors’ goal minder Hazel Nali off guard.
The visitors were looking for a killer blow in the final minutes of the first half and just after the indication of added time, Basopo broke free after a forward clearance from the Zambian rear controlling with her right foot before lobbing over advancing goalie Nali for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
The visitors improved their game but could not find the equalizer in the second half with Misozi Zulu in the 68th minute forcing a save from the Zimbabwean goal keeper Chido Dzingirai.
The hosts pressed further with the introduction of Samkelisiwe Zulu and Mavis Chirandu, asking the Zambian rear several questions in their quest to strengthen the lead.
Chirandu made her presence felt as she combined well with Zulu on countless occasions, the most noticeable was in the 89th minute when Chirandu released Marjory Nyaumwe who had a shot saved on point blank by the visitors goalie.
Zimbabwe coach Shadreck Mlauzi was a happy man despite the slim victory in the highly competitive encounter.
“We played according to plan. We did not want to concede as playing away is a different ball game together, and we are happy we did not concede at home. Zambia was predominantly a physical side. Our approach in Zambia would be to balance between attack and defence”, said Mlauzi.
Albert Kachinga, Zambia coach slammed his charges for complacency in the minutes leading to the only goal of the match.
“We went to sleep. It was just a few seconds before half time, and it was enough to cost us the game,” said Kachinga.
The Mighty Warriors has failed to qualify for the showpiece women’s football tournament since a hat-trick of appearances between 2000 and 2004, whilst the She-polopolo made their debut in 2014 in Namibia.
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Mali 1-1 Equatorial Guinea
Zimbabwe 1-0 Zambia
Tunisia 1-2 Ghana
Thursday, 7 April 2016
Egypt vs Cote d’Ivoire
Friday, 8 April 2016
Algeria vs Kenya
Senegal vs Nigeria
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Botswana vs South Africa
Sunday, 10 April 2016
Equatorial Guinea vs Mali
Zambia vs Zimbabwe
Monday, 11 April 2016
Cote d’Ivoire vs Egypt
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Kenya vs Algeria
Nigeria vs Senegal
Ghana vs Tunisia
South Africa vs Botswana