News Matches
COSAFA Women's Cup

Cosafa Championship 2022: Banda's ‘amazing return’ for Zambia after Wafcon sanction

13:55 EAT 09/09/2022
Barbra Banda Zambia Women 2021
Shepolopolo are flying high in the regional competition, with the prolific striker leading by example

Zambia striker Barbra Banda has said it is amazing to be back in action with the Shepolopolo after missing the Women's Africa Cup of Nations finals in July in a row over an eligibility test.

Currently, Banda is in South Africa with the team participating in the 2022 Cosafa Women’s Championship, where she has scored eight goals in three games.

"It's so amazing to be back in the Zambian colours," Banda told BBC Sport Africa. "I'm happy for myself, and I think my teammates are also very happy and excited."

Shepolopolo missed the prolific striker but finished third at Wafcon, but Banda was in Morocco to cheer on her teammates and she explained why she felt her pressence was important.

"That wasn't easy for me but, being a leader of the team, I was very determined about it because I realised that once I'm down, that team will also be down," Banda added.

"I had to keep on pushing them and giving them morale, up to the end of the Wafcon, where we did good."

The 22-year-old is also hopeful their impressive Wafcon showing can propel them to Cosafa Cup glory.

"I think the expectations are very high because the performance that the team put in at Wafcon was so amazing," the tournament's leading scorer continued.

"I think everyone now is looking up to us to have the Cosafa Cup. I also can't wait to be crowned as champions for Cosafa."

Zambia’s head coach, Bruce Mwape, is elated to have the 2020 Tokyo Olympics' back-to-back hat-trick scorer back in his team.

"We are extremely happy to see her back in the team with a bang. We missed out a lot," stated Mwape.

"She's one of our dependable players, especially up front. Now that we've got other players playing outside the country, we seem to be struggling with the striking force."

A fundamental contrast between Caf and Cosafa regulations allowed the China-based striker to feature in the Southern Africa regional competition.

"The tournament rules for Cosafa are different from the Caf rules on eligibility - there are no requirements for gender eligibility tests," Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga stated.

The Copper Queens, Group A’s leaders with maximum points, will face Tanzania on Friday in the last four.