Zambia: Zambia Women’s National Team captain Barbra Banda believes the two international friendly matches against Morocco will the team shape up for their upcoming assignments.
The Copper Queens have qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics and Women’s Africa Cup of Nations as well as the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship coming up.
Banda feels the strong North African side will help the 2022 WAFCON bronze medalists gauge themselves and their progress. Banda was speaking at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka before departure for Morocco.
“The team is ready, and everyone has been up for the task since the day the camp started. I think it’s a good preparation for us because we have Olympic qualifiers coming up, so these games will help us to be in shape as a team, and we also have COSAFA, which is also important for us,” Banda says.
“It’s important to meet teams like Morocco; It’s not an easy team, so at least when we meet such teams, we can gauge ourselves to see how far we are moving. These are games we need to have total concentration and target getting wins.”
The two teams last met in 2022 before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations and played to a 1-1 draw. Banda is hoping this time around, the Copper Queens can carry the day.
The Bruce Mwape-coached side will be looking to return to the Olympics, having made their debut in 2021 at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Zambia will join the qualifiers in the second round, facing Mali next month, and Shanghai Shengli forward is aware of the mammoth task ahead. “It won’t be an easy game, we have to be focused and fit both mentally and physically. Hoping this time around we don’t get a draw but carry maximum points,” Banda says.
“It will be good for us to qualify for the Olympics because it’s a very big tournament, and having played at the World Cup, we have gained experience. It won’t be easy to qualify, but we just have to work together as a team and make sure.”
The back-to-back friendlies against Morocco are set for 22 and 26 September 2023 in Rabat.