Zambia’s national women’s team should have already completed their participation at the Tokyo Olympic Games, but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the festival of sport being moved to 2021.
That makes their appearance at the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay from November 3-14 all the more important, with plenty of fine-tuning for the squad, who are missing just a handful of their first team players due to overseas club commitments.
But back in the fold is star striker Barbra Banda, who netted 18 goals in 13 games in the 2020 Chinese Super League season to finish as top scorer and underline her status as one of Africa’s leading female players.
She got her COSAFA tournament off to a cracking start with a hat-trick against Lesotho in an 8-0 win on Wednesday, as Zambia flexed their muscles and showed their quality.
She reveals all on The COSAFA Show, talking about her season in China, path into football, being back in the Copper Queens squad and, of course, participating in the Olympic Games next year.
Also on the show is assistant coach Beauty Mwamba, who has been part of the set-up for a number of years and witnessed first-hand the growth of the side.
She gives an extensive interview on the team, women’s football in Zambia, how the African game has grown and how this team can get even better.
“We are looking forward to a positive tournament,” Mwamba says. “Last year it was unfortunate we did not win [as they lost 1-0 to South Africa in the final] but this year we are determined to go a step forward and that means to win.
“We know it will not be easy, we have three players not with us here, two in Spain and one Israel. But that means it is an opportunity for other players to be on this stage.
“We are at this tournament in preparation for the Olympic Games, that is the most important thing.”