Monday, June 24, 2024

Sensational Racheal Kundananji on Zambia’s Olympics chances and the growth of the women’s game

Zambia’s dream of playing in two consecutive Olympics could be realized should they overcome Morocco in the final round of qualifiers to be played over two legs.

It will however be an uphill task for the side that participated in the last edition in Tokyo, as they face a Moroccan team that is on the rise.

Leading the Copper Queens’ attack will be the sensational Racheal Kundananji who recently broke the most expensive women’s football transfer record.

She speaks to CAFOnline about her recent achievement, Zambia’s chances of qualification to the Olympics as well as her goals for both club and country.

1. What are your thoughts on playing Morocco as the last match of the qualifiers.

I think this won’t be an easy task. We just need to be ready for the challenge because Morocco is a big side, and they are also aiming to qualify. They are also studying us so we need to be fully prepared.

2. Zambian football has grown to great heights over the last few years, what can you attribute this to?

I think there is a lot of determination from the players with the help of our federation. The players are more focused on the game and more importantly, they are doing what they love which shows on the field. Our parents are now allowing their children to play football which is widening the pool of talent in the country in the women’s game.

3. The team lost a teammate in Norin Betani quite recently. How did you take this and how is the team recovering from this tragic event?

We are still mourning the loss. To lose one of your teammates is a tragic thing. It was really bad, and it affected us a lot. We did our level best to overcome that because she was more than a good player but a good sister and may her soul rest in peace. We still think about her as a team and will always cherish her.

I do however need to be focused on football and forget about the transfers and everything because it has happened. Now it is time for someone else break that record. Maybe it will be me again or maybe it will be another person so that is the way forward.


4. You recently made history by becoming the world women’s transfer record, what did you make of that? 

At first, I was so nervous about everything. I was thinking I was maybe going to fail. I had to tell myself that I have done this before and why should I fail now? I told myself that I just need to focus and always do my best and face my fears because if start fearing, I will start making mistakes so that is what I did.

I stayed so many days without training with the team because I was injured and worried about my place, but they helped me and I really appreciated the club because they have done a lot for me over the past few days that I have been there. Even the day I played the first game I was so relaxed. So, when I went in, I was even telling my friends that I feel like I am in the first eleven even though I came in as a super sub.

5. How has life been setting into the new team?

I must say a lot is happening in women’s football. In America, they have invested in women’s football, and you even ask yourself if this is maybe the men’s game because even the media is massive.

It is like Champions League finals. At club level, it is my first time playing in front of 18 000 plus supporters and this can make you nervous, but it is very good and progressive.

6. How different is their style of play?

I think football is the same and is one language. It is a matter of understanding one another and doing that gradually. The team has a lot of stars, and it is very easy to understand one another. I am sure in the next few days; we are going to do wonders because the team has a lot of talents.

7. Finally, what goals have you set for yourself for the year?

Individually I think it is to grow more and learn every day and face my fears and challenge myself to do better. Football is all about challenging yourself. Yes, they might compare you to somebody, but the actual competition is yourself. 


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1 Comment

  1. She has good advisers.

    Keep it up Racheal now show them what you are made of in Morocco.

    Psyche & motivate your friends. Its not over till the final whistle do it for yourselves & mother 🇿🇲🇿🇲🇿🇲🇿🇲🇿🇲🇿🇲🇿🇲

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