May 18 (Reuters) – Zambia make their first appearance at the Women’s World Cup this year and while coach Bruce Mwape knows their opponents will be much more experienced, he does not see the African side as underdogs.
Mwape’s side are the first from Zambia to qualify for a World Cup – men’s or women’s – and they open their Group C campaign against previous winners Japan before facing Spain and Costa Rica.
Mwape said Zambia will not be going to the July 20 tournament. August 20 just to make up the numbers.
“Even though we’re just getting started, I would say we’re not just going to add numbers to the tournament,” Mwape told FIFA+ on Wednesday.
“From the little experience we’ve got, I think we’re capable of challenging any team. It won’t be easy, but there are others who think we’ll go there as underdogs. As far I’m worried about will we compete.”
Qualifying for the World Cup had changed football in Zambia, with many young girls aspiring to play for the country, Mwape said.
Asked what his team will be aiming for at the finals in Australia and New Zealand, Mwape added: “Success at the World Cup will actually shake the whole world because if we do well, I’m sure people will be surprised.
“Some of them won’t even know where Zambia is. For them it will be a matter of looking at a world map to find out. But nothing is impossible. The results can go either way – and victory is possible.”
Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.