Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
- Barbra Banda is one in every of Africa’s hottest prospects
- The 20-12 months-previous impressed Zambia to Olympic qualification
- She completed as high 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 high flight on a excessive, completed as high scorer in the Chinese Women’s Super League and, above all, helped Zambia qualify for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.
A 4-3 mixture victory over conventional powerhouses Cameroon in the remaining of the African qualifiers in March secured the Copper Queens a maiden journey to a serious international competitors, with the 20-12 months-previous captain setting up the clinching objective. And Banda completed the 12 months in fashion, too, scoring one and setting up the different as Zambia got here from behind in November to turn out to be the first African aspect to defeat Chile.
“It was a great year and I am really happy with what I have achieved so far,” the 20-12 months-previous striker informed 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 high of all this, I’m glad with what we’ve got executed with the nationwide staff. Before the remaining, all of us talked about making historical past for our nation and we made it. We really feel pleasure at making historical past.”
Born in Zambian capital Lusaka, Banda began enjoying soccer at six years previous, impressed by her father. “My dad was my mentor in the early stages of my career,” she mentioned.
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 staff, for whom she made speedy progress underneath Kaluba Kangwa.
“Coach Kangwa played a big part in helping me realise my potential,” Banda mentioned. “He believed in me and helped me grow into a football player.”
With distinctive tempo and a superb nostril for objective, Banda emerged as one in every 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 aspect Logrono in 2018. By doing so, she turned 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 depart for pastures new, becoming a member of Shanghai Agricultural & Commercial Bank at the begin of 2020. And wanting again, she was glad together with her debut season in China PR, ending as the 18-objective main markswoman and helped her membership come third.
“It was hard to leave Logrono but I always want to try something new,” she mentioned. “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 preserve me on my toes. It helps me suppose quick and study to perceive the significance of balancing assault and defence, which can be key in soccer.”
Looking forward, Banda insists Zambia can be a staff 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 mentioned. “It is a brand new problem for us and we’ll 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 need to assist Zambia to do a lot better in the African Women’s Championship. I hope we are able to win the African title greater than as soon as. And, above all, I hope we are able to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.”