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Nigeria, Zambia women win playoffs to take last two Olympic spots

ZAMBIA and Nigeria locked up the last two spots in the women’s soccer tournament at the Paris Olympics after winning two-legged playoffs in the fourth round of African qualifying.

Zambia needed extra time to get past Morocco in Rabat as the Copper Queens turned a 2-1 first-leg deficit into a 3-2 aggregate triumph with a 2-0 win at Moulay Hassan Stadium.

Captain and Orlando Pride striker Barbra Banda opened the scoring for Zambia in the 38th minute and secured the ticket to the Olympics when she converted a penalty in the 105th minute.

The Zambians will be in a tough Group B in France along with former champions the United States and Germany as well as World Cup semi-finalists Australia. They open their campaign against the Americans in Nice on July 25.

Nigeria had an easier passage to their fourth Olympics, drawing 0-0 with South Africa in Pretoria on Tuesday to secure their berth by courtesy of a 1-0 win Abuja last week.

The Super Falcons will take on world champions Spain, former world champions Japan and Brazil in Group C at the Olympics. They face the South Americans in their tournament opener in Bordeaux on July 25.

By The African Mirror