Olympic women's football: Who is Zambia's history-making superstar Barbra Banda?

Barbra Banda

The women’s football tournament is underway at the Tokyo Olympics and there are several players who have already stood out in these early stages.

But none more than Zambia’s prolific goalscorer Barbra Banda, who has made history not once, not twice, but three times this week.

Who is Barbra Banda?

Banda is a player who has been criminally under the radar until her appearance at this summer’s Olympic Games.

The 21-year-old is a natural striker who started her career with Spanish outfit Logroño in 2018, where she scored 16 goals in 28 appearances. She made a huge career move last year when she transferred to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shengli.

Banda has represented her nation just five times as a senior player but has scored nine goals in that time.

What has Barbra Banda achieved at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

This is the first time the Zambia women’s national team have qualified for the Games. The Copper Queens were drawn in Group F against Brazil, China and the Netherlands.

Their Olympic debut may have been a hefty 10-3 defeat, but it’s those three goals that marked a huge landmark moment for the Zambians.

Banda was the woman to score her country’s first ever Olympic goal, plus another two for good measure. Her hat-trick also made her the first African woman in history to score three goals at an Olympic women’s football tournament.

But was making history twice in one match enough for the 21-year-old? Of course it wasn’t.

In Zambia’s latest match against China, an eight-goal thriller saw the two sides finish all square, both banking a crucial point. Banda netted three of her side’s four goals, once again writing her name in the history books.

Banda’s treble against China makes her the first female footballer in Olympic history to score two hat-tricks in two games.

With six goals in two matches, Banda is currently the tournament’s joint-top scorer, level with Dutch star Vivianne Miedema and ahead of Australia’s Sam Kerr.

What does this mean for Zambia?

With Brazil and the Netherlands both winning their opening matches, Zambia are now fighting for the third place spot for a chance to progress into the quarter-finals.

The last match of the group stages for the Copper Queens will be against Brazil on Tuesday, July 27th. Zambia will be looking towards Banda once again to put in a world class performance in hopes to upset the two-time Olympic silver medalists. 

Keep up to date with all the action from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic women’s football tournament with our ‘All You Need to Know’ guide.

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