• Barbra Banda is one of the great hopes of African women’s football
  • The 20-year-old Zambian led her country to Olympic qualification
  • She recently won the title of top scorer in the Chinese Women’s Super League.

The year 2020 has certainly not been easy, but it will have left good memories for Barbra Banda. After a stint in Spain’s top flight, the Zambian won the title of top scorer in the Chinese Women’s Super League. At the same time, she contributed to the qualification of her country for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.

By winning in the final of the African preliminary competition against Cameroon last March thanks to the away goals rule (4-4 in aggregate score), the Copper Queens have won the right to participate in their first major international tournament. Banda offered the assist on the winning goal and, more recently, split a goal and an assist to make Zambia the first African team to beat Chile.

“It was a great year and I am very satisfied with all that I have accomplished,” said the 20-year-old player at the microphone of FIFA.com. “I have the feeling to have progressed in the last gesture. In any case, I scored more goals. Of course, my coaches and my teammates helped me enormously to push my limits. very proud of what we have achieved with the national team. Before the final, we discussed this opportunity to make history among ourselves. We were able to seize it. We are the first to make it. “

Progress in Spain, confirmation in China

Born in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, Banda began playing football at the age of six, under the watchful eye of her father. “He was my mentor during those early years,” remembers the one who later joined the Bauleni United Sports Academy training center. In 2014, she joined the U-17 selection and continued to progress, under the orders of Kaluba Kangwa. “If I am able today to fully exploit my potential, it is to him that I owe it”, clarifies Banda. “He believed in me and he guided me on the path to success.”

Having become a great hope for Zambian women’s football thanks to her speed and sense of goal, she joined Logrono, a resident of the Spanish Primera Division, in 2018. She became the first Zambian to play in Europe on this occasion. . She scored 16 goals in 28 matches, spread over two seasons. β€œI learned a lot there. The team was good and I was lucky to have some great teammates. I got to know new tactics, other systems and other styles. I think. to have progressed enormously, especially in my understanding of the game, ”she believes.

At the start of 2020, Banda leaves Spain and signs at the Shanghai Agricultural & Commercial Bank. Looking back, she says she is satisfied with her first season in the Chinese top flight. Top scorer in the championship with 18 goals, she led her team to the third step of the podium. “It was hard to leave Logrono, but I wanted to try something new. I’m happy with what I achieved in Shanghai. We have to pay tribute to the organizers of the Super League. The competition is going on. took place in excellent conditions. “

A challenge and a dream

In his spare time, Banda enjoys boxing. “It’s a discipline that helps me stay alert. You learn the need to think quickly and find the right balance between attack and defense. It’s also important in football.” This balance will have to be found during the Olympic Games, where she believes that her team will have a say. “We may be new to this level, but we are not here to make up. It’s a new challenge for us. If all goes well and I manage to score, like I got used to doing it, we can do great things. “

Banda even sees beyond the Olympic Tournament and allows himself to set even more ambitious goals. “I also want to help Zambia in the African Women’s Championship. We hope to be able to win the title more than once. But above all, I wish we could qualify for the Women’s World Cup,” said she does.

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