20 October 2014 12:57
Kabange Mupopo is the holder of the fastest time by an African in the 400m this year, a record she set at the 2014 IAAF Intercontinental Cup held from 13-14 September 2014 also in Marrakech, Morocco.
Strangely Mupopo, also captain of the Zambian national women’s teams, She-popolopo, ventured into athletics only seven months ago, but has achieved so much within this short period – winning silver at the African Athletics Championship in Morocco last August and also reaching the semis of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
The 22-year old, who plays for women’s team of Zambia army side, Green Buffaloes, talks exclusively to Cafonline.com about her life, doing athletics and playing football and Zambia’s participation at the TN Mobile 9th African Women Championship where they exited at the group phase.
Cafonline.com: How will you describe your experience at the tournament?
Kabange Mupopo: This is the first time we qualified and we have learnt a lot of lessons. We put in our best to reach the final since we wanted to make history by becoming the first batch of Zambian footballers to qualify for the African Women Championship. It was a big achievement to beat Zimbabwe to the ticket. This is our first but definitely not the last. It is the beginning of many things to come. We hope to improve upon our performance at subsequent editions.
How did you get into football?
I started football at 11-years. I was born into a family of four boys and two girls. I was attracted to football because of my brother and I hung out with him a lot.
How did your parents react to your decision to play football?
It was a big challenge because my parents were not happy I chose to act like a man. It was something I really wanted to do and I always dreamt of playing football. I started my career at Breakthrough Academy before I was roped into the Green Buffaloes (army team) where I learnt how to play football.
When did you make your debut?
My first game with Zambia was in the qualifiers for the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup against Ghana. We lost 2-0 in the first leg and 4-0 in the return leg.
How did you get into athletics?
I Started athletics about seven months ago upon advice from some friends due to my speed. My first event was at the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) International Meeting from 26-27 April 2014 and I won gold in the 400m with a time of 53.45s. Later, I took part in a similar event in Switzerland where I ran 51.63. I took part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland where I reached the semi-final. I also went to African Athletics Championship from 10-14 August 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco where I won silver 51.21, which is a Zambian national record.
My performance at the African Athletics Championship earned me a ticket at the IAAF Continental Cup 2014 held from 13-14 September 2014 also in Marrakech, Morocco where I finished fourth with a time of 50.87, which is the fastest by an African this year.
How are you coping with the demands of football and athletics?
It is a big challenge to play football and do athletics at the same time. I like football and will play even without money since it’s my passion. But if you tell me to run without money, I don’t think I can do it. One day, I will give up one of them, but at the moment I’m not sure which one I will drop. The people around me have been very supportive - friends, playing mates and coaches.
How far do you want to go in your football career?
I’m aiming to play football abroad to earn a good salary that will change my life. Women’s football in Zambia is still growing and is not yet at the top. Women’s Football in Africa don’t attract enough support like men. I believe with some support we can do better.
Who is your favourite player?
My favourite player is Cristiano Ronaldo and I also adore Rainford Kalaba (Zambian midfielder playing at TP Mazembe). Kalaba is smart and plays clean all the time.