The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) have been dealt a big blow ahead of their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) campaign, with captain Barbra Banda ruled out of the competition.
The 22-year-old Banda was Zambia’s start player during the Olympics in Rio, but now the Copper Queens will have to go no without her in their opening group B clash against Cameroon at Stade Mohammed V on Sunday, July 3. Banda will not be part of the Zambian squad due to medical reasons. Tunisia and Togo are also in group B.
Banda, who plays her club football in China, will be missed by the Copper Queens. The lethal striker scored six goals in her country’s three group matches during the Olympics, netting back-to-back hat-tricks as she became one of the star performers in the round robin phase in Rio.
“FAZ wishes to provide a squad update for the Copper Queens that open their account on Sunday in a Group B match against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon,” FAZ spokesperson Sydney Mungala said in a statement.
“Zambia will be without Ochumba Oseke and Xiomala Mapepa for the opening match due to suspension while skipper Barbra Banda will be unavailable for medical reasons.”
Banda missed Zambia’s 2022 WAFCON qualifying campaign due to COVID 19 travel restrictions form her base in China.
Zambia will be looking to upset the Cameroonians, who are considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the quarterfinals of the competition.