Barbra Banda makes history in Zambia's Olympic debut outing

Barbra Banda 1

Zambia international Barbra Banda has become the first African to score a hat-trick in a match at an Olympic Women's tournament.

On Wednesday, the Copper Queens launched their maiden senior international outing on a disappointing note as they were thrashed 10-3 by the European champions Netherlands at the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu.

With Bruce Mwape' side trailing 3-0, the 21-year-old captain found the back of the net in the 19th minute, but it was not enough to inspire her team's fight back as they conceded three more before the half time.

After the break, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up added four to hit double gift but the African representatives never gave in as Banda netted twice in the final 10 minutes to bag her treble.

"This is a big achievement, and I am very proud despite the defeat... To also become the first Zambian and first African player to score a hat-trick is something I really do appreciate." Barbra Banda

With her feat, the Green Buffaloes product became not only the first African to hit a treble in an Olympic game but also the first from African with three goals in a single tournament at the global sporting showpiece.

Following her display, Banda says she is proud of her feat with Copper Queens despite the heavy defeat to the Dutch in their senior international debut outing.

"This is a big achievement, and I am very proud despite the defeat," she told CAFOnline.com.

"To also become the first Zambian and first African player to score a hat-trick is something I really do appreciate.

"As a footballer this is the things of dreams and something you can only imagine, but I thank God and Zambia for making me fulfil this."

Barbra Banda

Her latest achievement at the global stage is no surprise as she shone as Zambia overturned a 3–2 first-leg defeat to beat Cameroon 2-1 at home and force a 4–4 draw, thus qualifying on away goals for the first time in their history to the Olympics.

She was the first Zambian to secure a professional contract abroad in 2018 when she joined Logrono in Spain, scoring 15 goals in 28 games.

Six months into her two-year deal, she left the European side for Asia, teaming up with the Chinese club Shanghai, on a three-year deal in January 2020.

Banda made an instant impact on her debut season as she emerged as the Chinese Women's Super League top scorer, scoring 18 goals in 13 games.

After the false start in Tokyo, coach Mwape will count on Banda's form to bounce back when they take on China PR on July 24 in a Group F fixture.

(c) Photos @Olympics @CAF