'It was not easy' - Barbra Banda recounts Zambia's historic Olympic qualification

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Zambia's qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was not easy, Barbra Banda said while remembering the historic feat.

Banda captained the Copper Queens in the second leg, the final round of the qualifiers at the National Stadium in Lusaka, where they conquered favourites Cameroon 2-1 to seal automatic qualification.

First-half strikes from Mary Nwakapila and Hellen Mubanga were all 10-woman Zambians needed to upset the Indomitable Lionesses despite Ajara Nchout's late effort.

The forward was influential in the double-header, including assisting Mubanga's second-leg winner and she has recalled the uneasy qualification route while assuring of a good showing in Tokyo. 

“It means a lot for everyone and the country at large," Banda told Tokyo 2020 website. 

"It is encouraging for women, not even the men’s team qualified. We made history. It was not easy because each and every team was strong. 

“We decided we wouldn’t underestimate any team. What I can say to my team is that they just have to be determined. 

Barbra Banda -Zambia

“We are going there [Tokyo] with the aim to reach that level whereby we are going to the semi-finals. We have something in us. I believe in my team. The teams have to be ready for us.

“I have confidence and courage because I know football. The one who wants it the most, is the one who is going to get it.

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“I tell my team that if we want it, we have to work extra hard to get it. We have to be united because if we are separated there is nowhere we can go. We just have to stand as one and everything will be possible.”

Having shocked African powerhouse Cameroon, Zambia are the third Southern African nation to qualify for the Games after South Africa (2012 and 2016) and Zimbabwe (2016).

The 2019 Cosafa Women's Cup runners-up also became the fifth African nation to compete at the summer Women's Olympic football tournament in history.