Dutch women’s football friendly with Zambia cancelled over visa issues
The upcoming football match between the Dutch women’s national team and Zambia was cancelled on Monday after players from the African nation were unable to secure visas in time. The Oranje Leeuwinnen were set to host the friendly match on Thursday evening at the Rat Verlegh Stadion in Breda.
“Despite many efforts by the Dutch and Zambian unions and the political authorities involved, it was unfortunately not possible to bring Zambia to the Netherlands for the match,” said Dutch football association KNVB. A replacement match cannot be organized this week. Fans who already purchased tickets will receive a refund.
The Dutch women’s team qualified for the World Cup on 6 September with an injury time winning goal over Iceland. That meant that the Leeuwinnen no longer had to take part in the October play-off matches to enter the 2023 tournament.
The KNVB then set its sights on finding an international opponent for a friendly instead. They picked Zambia based on the team’s skill level, playing style, and availability.
“Unfortunately, last week it turned out that the visa procedure took longer than originally thought. Despite efforts by the KNVB, the Zambian federation and the ministries involved, it became clear today that it is not possible for the Zambian team to travel to the Netherlands in time,” the KNVB said on Monday.
The Leeuwinnen had a brilliant run in the 2019 World Cup, but the team finished in second place after losing to the United States in the final. Of the 32 teams taking part in the upcoming tournament, 11 slots will be filled by European nations. Play-offs have yet to determine the remaining two European teams, with three other World Cup slots still on the table.
The 2023 tournament will take place in Australia and New Zealand from 17 to 23 February.