Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
- Barbra Banda is considered one of Africa’s hottest prospects
- The 20-12 months-outdated impressed Zambia to Olympic qualification
- She completed as prime scorer in the Chinese Women’s Super League 2020
2020 could have been a difficult 12 months, however in footballing phrases, Barbra Banda will bear in mind it fondly. She ended a profitable spell in the Spanish prime flight on a excessive, completed as prime scorer in the Chinese Women’s Super League and, above all, helped Zambia qualify for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.
An away objectives victory over conventional powerhouses Cameroon in the ultimate of the African qualifiers in March secured the Copper Queens a maiden journey to a serious world competitors, with the 20-12 months-outdated captain setting up the clinching strike. And Banda completed the 12 months in type, too, scoring one and setting up the different as Zambia got here from behind in November to change into the first African facet to defeat Chile.
“It was a great year and I am really happy with what I have achieved so far,” the 20-12 months-outdated striker instructed FIFA.com. “I think I have improved on my finishing and I have scored more goals. Of course, my coaches and team-mates gave me a lot of help and pushed me to do my best.”
“And on prime of all this, I’m glad with what we now have executed with the nationwide crew. Before the ultimate, all of us talked about making historical past for our nation and we made it. We really feel delight at making historical past.”
Born in Zambian capital Lusaka, Banda began taking part in soccer at six years outdated, impressed by her father. “My dad was my mentor in the early stages of my career,” she stated.
Banda’s distinctive footballing items did not go unnoticed as she was recruited by Bauleni United Sports Academy. In 2014 she joined the nationwide U-17 crew, for whom she made fast progress beneath Kaluba Kangwa.
“Coach Kangwa played a big part in helping me realise my potential,” Banda stated. “He believed in me and helped me grow into a football player.”
With distinctive tempo and a superb nostril for aim, Banda emerged as considered one of Zambia’s hottest prospects. Her expertise drew consideration from overseas and she or he moved to Spain to be a part of Primera Division facet Logrono in 2018. By doing so, she grew to become the first Zambian feminine to play in Europe. Banda hit 16 objectives 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 amazing team-mates. I learned a lot there: new tactics, systems and styles of play. I improved a lot and learned how to understand the game.”
Banda would go away for pastures new, becoming a member of Shanghai Agricultural & Commercial Bank at the begin of 2020. And wanting again, she was happy together with her debut season in China PR, ending as the 18-aim main markswoman and helped her membership come third.
“It was hard to leave Logrono but I always want to try something new,” she stated. “I am happy with my performance for Shanghai. Praise should go to the organisers of the Chinese Women’s Super League. The competition was perfectly organised.”
In her spare time Banda has tried boxing: “It helps hold me on my toes. It helps me assume quick and be taught to perceive the significance of balancing assault and defence, which can also be key in soccer.”
Looking forward, Banda insists Zambia will likely be a crew to be reckoned with at the subsequent Olympics.
“It could also be our first time to play in the Olympics, however we are not going simply to make up the numbers,” she stated. “It is a brand new problem for us and we are going to take it because it comes. We will take it a recreation at a time.
“If it goes our way and I score as I usually do, we are hopeful of some solid achievements.”
“And I would like to assist Zambia to do significantly better in the African Women’s Championship. I hope we will win the African title greater than as soon as. And, above all, I hope we will qualify for the Women’s World Cup.”