Zambia: President Hakainde Hichilema says the current success of the Zambia Women’s National Team has nothing to do with luck but is a product of hard work by everyone involved in the women’s game.
Hichilema thanked the women’s team, alias the Copper Queens, for making the country proud by qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from July 20-August 20.
The huge success accorded Zambia an opportunity to be part of four countries in Africa that welcomed the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour that has embarked on a global journey ahead of the women’s biggest football extravaganza.
“I wish to thank FIFA for giving the Zambian people an opportunity to experience the tour of the trophy. The tour places our country in the spotlight in confirmation of the country’s love for the game of football, and consequently, it will raise people’s interest in football,” Hichilema said in a speech read on his behalf by Sports Minister Elvis Nkandu.
“We have had a number of football success stories, defining moments including winning the 2012 AFCON, participating in the Women’s Africa Cup and the qualification for the 2023 World Cup. Copper Queens thank you very much; you don’t know what you have done; you have put smiles on the faces of Zambian people,” Hichilema said.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga believes the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour will inspire and motivate the Copper Queens as they compete at the global event this July, where they are in Group C alongside Spain, Japan and Costa Rica.
Kamanga lauded the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour, stating that the milestone event called for the appreciation of different stakeholders that have played a huge role in the Zambia Women’s National Team’s success.
“We are privileged to host this prized possession, and the desire to strive hard to keep it is even higher. I have no doubt our players from the Copper Queens, and the technical bench are motivated so that they work hard to win it,” Kamanga said at a state dinner held at Pamodzi hotel in Lusaka.
“We are one of the four teams in Africa who have qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and we feel privileged to be in the elite club in the Women’s game. Its journey did not happen overnight as the team was the only African flag bearer at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and also at the 2014 U17 World Cup in Costa Rica.”
The FAZ boss was quick to ask the corporate world to continue supporting the Copper Queens in order to sustain the investment in Women’s Football.
“It is important that investing in the game continues so that the success we score is not seen as an accident or indeed for it to happen overnight. We now have a full-fledged Women’s National League. I wish to appeal to our partners in the corporate world to continue supporting Women’s Football. For us to sustain whatever we are investing, we obviously need the support of the corporate world so our doors remain open for whatever partnerships you may desire,” he said.
Deputy Head of Mission Australian Embassy, Zimbabwe, Susan Cash, assured the Copper Queens of good hospitality and a unique cultural experience when they went to compete for the coveted trophy.
On the day they were listed 9th in Africa and 77th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings, the Zambia Women’s National Team and the FIFA Trophy tour entourage were treated to a state dinner as part of activities for the tour.
The event was spiced up by musical acts like songbird Wezi, Towera Kaira, and Organised family, among others.