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Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
- Barbra Banda is one of Africa’s hottest prospects
- The 20-year-old inspired Zambia to qualify for the Olympics
- She finished as the top scorer in the Chinese woman’s Super League 2020
2020 may have been a challenging year, but in football, Barbra Banda will remember it with joy. She finished a successful spell in the Spanish top flight at the top, finished as the top scorer in the Chinese women’s super league and above all helped Zambia qualify for the women’s Olympic football tournament.
An overall 4-3 victory over traditional powerhouses in Cameroon in the final of the African qualifiers in March secured the Copper Queens a maiden voyage to a major global competition in which the 20-year-old captain sat down to reach the goal. And Banda also ended the year in style, scoring one and putting the other in when Zambia came from behind in November to become the first African side to defeat Chile.
“It’s been a good year and I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved so far,” said the 20-year-old striker. FIFA.com. “I think I’ve improved my finishing and I’ve scored more goals. Of course, my coaches and teammates gave me a lot of help and pushed me to do my best.”
“And on top of all that, I’m happy with what we’ve done with the national team. Before the final, we all talked about making history for our country, and we did it. We’re proud to make history.”
Born in the Zambian capital Lusaka, Banda started playing football at the age of six, inspired by his father. “My father was my mentor in the early stages of my career,” she said.
Banda’s unique football gifts did not go unnoticed when she was recruited by Bauleni United Sports Academy. In 2014, she joined the national U-17 team, for whom she made rapid progress under Kaluba Kangwa.
“Coach Kangwa played a big role in helping me realize my potential,” Banda said. “He believed in me and helped me grow into a football player.”
With an unusual pace and a good nose for goal, Banda emerged as one of Zambia’s hottest prospects. Her talent attracted attention from abroad and she moved to Spain to join the Primera Division side Logrono in 2018. By doing so, she became the first Zambian woman to play in Europe. The band hit 16 goals in 28 appearances over two seasons with Logrono.
“It was a great experience in Spain,” she said. “We had a great team and I had great teammates. I learned a lot there: new tactics, systems and playing style. I improved a lot and learned to understand the game.”
Banda left new pastures and joined Shanghai Agricultural & Commercial Bank in early 2020. And when she looked back, she was happy with her debut season in China PR and finished as the 18-goal leading shooter, helping her club get to third place.
“It was hard to leave Logrono, but I always want to try something new,” she said. “I am pleased with my performance for Shanghai. Praise should go to the organizers of the Chinese woman’s super league. The competition was perfectly organized. ”
In his spare time, Banda has tried boxing: “It helps keep me on my toes. It helps me think fast and learn to understand the importance of balancing attack and defense, which is also the key in football.”
Looking ahead, Banda insists that Zambia will be a team to be reckoned with at the next Olympics.
“It may be our first time playing in the Olympics, but we must not just level the playing field,” she said. “It is a new challenge for us and we will take it as it comes. We will take it one game at a time. .
“If it goes our way and I score like I normally do, we are hoping for some solid performance.”
“And I want to help Zambia do much better in the African Women’s Championship. I hope we can win the African title more than once. And above all, I hope we can qualify for the Women’s World Championships. “