The federation of Zambia Association (Faz) has confirmed they will seek redress on circumstances surrounding some of their players after captain Barbra Banda was disqualified from taking part in the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations due to medical reasons.
The 22-year-old Banda, who turns out for Chinese club Shanghai Shengli, was missing in action as the Copper Queens kicked off their Group B campaign with a 0-0 draw against Cameroon at Stade Mohammed V on Sunday.
Faz President Andrew Kamanga has confirmed some of the challenges the team encountered in Morocco around player eligibility for the competition.
“We have encountered some challenges around player eligibility for the competition, but we have now focused on the 22 soldiers chosen to do battle for Zambia,” Kamanga said as quoted by Faz social media pages.
“Naturally, we are in the background seeking redress on the circumstances surrounding some of our players. We are constrained from explicitly discussing some of the issues as they hinge on ethics and the right to privacy of the individuals involved.
“However, for now, we would like to urge our team to remain focused before the game against Tunisia on Wednesday and the final fixture against Togo.”
Kamanga continued: “We also urge the fans to rally behind the team and spread positivity around the team. The girls have been at two successive Wafcons and can no longer be considered rookies at this level.
“The ultimate goal is Fifa World Cup qualification which will be attained by the four semi-finalists at the 2022 Wafcon. Having already attained Olympic qualification, our target is Fifa World Cup qualification.”
Despite being disqualified, Banda, who came into the limelight after she became the first-ever player in Olympic history to score back-to-back hat-tricks during the games in Japan, has maintained she will continue to support the team.
Ahead of their game against the Indomitable Lionesses, Banda wished the team the best of luck.
“All the best team, I will be cheering for you until when I can be back on the pitch with you,” Banda wrote on her Twitter handle, adding: “We keep pushing, let's give it our best shot.
“I'm with you all the way.”
After the 0-0 draw, Banda praised the team for their display to earn “a very important point.”
She wrote: “A very important point picked up today [Sunday]. Well done ladies. I am with you all the way. Let’s now focus on the next game.”
Zambia will next face Tunisia, who defeated Togo 4-1 in their opener on Sunday.