Skipper Barbra Banda ruled out of Zambia’s WAFCON squad

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The Skipper for the Copper Queens,Barbra Banda will miss the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations due medical reasons. PHOTO/COURTESY.

The Copper Queens of Zambia will play their 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations matches without their lead striker and skipper Barbra Banda.

This is after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) released final squad list for Zambia minus the striker’s name.

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The country’s soccer governing body,FAZ later confirmed Banda’s absence attributing it to medical reasons.

“Zambia will be without Ochumba Oseke and Siomala Mapepa for the opening match due to suspension while skipper Barbra Banda will be unavailable for medical reasons,” FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala said in a statement.

He revealed that Oseke and Mapepa will miss out due to accumulated cards during the qualification process.

“Outside the three players, everything else is fine with the team looking forward to the opening match against Cameroon on Sunday. We urge the public to fully support the team as it lifts our national flag high,” he added.

Banda was part of the National Women’s football team that represented Zambia at the 2022 Tokyo Olympics where she finished joint second top scorer with six goals, four behind Dutch and Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema.

The Shanghai Shengli forward became the first African to score a hat trick at the Olympics when she scored three goals in a 4-4 draw with China before adding another hat -trick in a 10-3 defeat to Netherlands.

Banda however missed Zambia’s entire WAFCON qualifying campaign due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Zambia take on Cameroon on Sunday before facing Tunisia on July 6 and wind up their Group B campaign three days later against Togo.
Top four teams at the 12-nation tournament will automatically qualify to the FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Australia/New Zealand.

FULL SQUAD:

Goalkeepers:

Catherine Musonda (Indeni Roses), Hazel Nali (Fatih Vatan Sport-Turkey), Leticia Lungu (Zesco Girls)

Defenders:

Judith Soko (YASA Girls), Lushomo Mweemba, Anita Mulenga, Agness Musase, Martha Tembo (All Green Buffaloes), Esther Siamfuko (Queens Academy), Margaret Belemu (Shanghai Shengli-China)

Midfielders:

Mary Wilombe (Red Arrows), Misozi Zulu (Hakkarigucu Spur-Turkey), Evarine Katongo (ZISD), Ireen Lungu, Natasha Nanyangwe (both Green Buffaloes), Esther Banda, Maweta Chilenga (both BUSA), Avell Chitundu (Zesco Girls)

Strikers:

Ochumba Oseke (Red Arrows), Grace Chanda (Biik Shyyehp-Kazakhstan), Siomala Mapepa (Lusaka Dynamos), Noria Sosala (Indeni).

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