Friday, July 19, 2024

Zambia Army: Heartbeat of women soccer success

CAROL Kanyemba’s masterinding of the Zambia women’s Under-17 national team to the FIFA World Cup is a perfect example of the Zambia Army bringing glory to mother Zambia.

Zambia beat Morocco 3-1 on aggregate to seal the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup spot following a 0-0 draw in Morocco at the weekend.

Starlet Namute Chileshe bagged a hat trick in the first leg, thanks to staff seargent Kanyemba’s tactical nous.

This is Zambia’s first qualification FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in a decade and only the second in history.

Zambia has deserveddly joined Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Kenya, England, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Mexico, Nigeria New Zealand, Poland, Spain and the United States of America in qualifying for the U-17 finals, which will take place from October 16 to November 3.

In a season in which women’s football is trending, the Zambia Army has been the heartbeat of its soul.

Apart from staff seargent Kanyemba making history by becoming the first female coach to lead a national soccer team to the Promised Land, other female soldiers have been doing it with distinction, much to the delight of Zambia Army Commander Sitali Alibuzwi.

Barbara Banda and Rachel Kundananji along with others have been torch bearers for the Army by guiding the Copper Queens to the African Women’s Cup (WAFCON), the Olympic Games (twice on the trot) and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Lt. Gen. Alibuzwi has been generous by promoting the deserving members of the Green Buffaloes Women’s Football Club.

The anchor of the success of the women’s national teams is Priscilla Katoba, the iron lady.
Colonel Katoba, the first women’s representative on the FAZ executive committee has demonstrated both her administrative acumen as well as passion for women’s football in the Army where she contributed to the transformation of Green Buffaloes Women’s Football Club and at national level where her record speaks for itself during her tenure before even concluding it.
She led the Copper Queens to the WAFCON in Morocco where they got a bronze. This qualified the Copper Queens to the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

She previously led the Copper Queens to the inaugural Olympics qualification to Japan.
Now, the Under-17 national team has qualified to the FIFA Women’s World Cup under her watch as female representative in the male dominated FAZ executive.

Besides the national leadership role, Col. Katoba led Green Buffaloes Women’s Football Club for over eight years without a loss, hence their participation in the Cosafa CAF club championships.

Over and above, Col. Katoba is one of the women football administrators who owns football academies.

She has the biggest academy with six teams, so does coach Kanyemba.

Kanyemba’s academy has produced the first choice goalkeeper for the Chipolopolo Boys.
The credentials and honours brought by Kanyemba and Col. Katoba along with others contribute to the Zambia Army being the People’s Army.

They undoubtedly bring smiles to Lt. Gen. Alibuzwi, himself a former multi-talented athlete and a football manager.

By Benedict Tembo

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