Football in Zambia gained professional status in 1964, marked by the national team’s participation in their inaugural FIFA-organized official match. Subsequently, they showcased commendable performances in various competitions, notably in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Leading up to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia secured two quarter-final berths, faced defeat in two finals, and clinched the third position three times.
Yet, their most remarkable achievement materialized in 2012 when they triumphed in the African Cup of Nations. This remarkable victory significantly boosted the involvement of young enthusiasts in local football clubs.
Numerous talent scouts from prominent European leagues now journey to Zambia, driven by the desire to unearth emerging football prodigies. Due to Zambia’s historical ties as a former British colony, many Zambian players opt for football teams within this region to further their careers.
Three Zambian Stars Playing in Europe
A noteworthy contingent of promising Zambian footballers has found their footing in the premier European leagues, and it’s essential to highlight their youthful talent and potential.
These players have secured regular spots in their respective clubs’ starting lineups and garnered significant admiration from their dedicated fan bases. Notably, their exceptional performance has even caught the attention of betting enthusiasts who frequently follow their progress and place bets on their teams. A large number of Zambian players are currently plying their trade in South Africa, with South Africa betting growing at a breakneck speed.
Moreover, a multitude of prominent European clubs have embraced Zambian teenagers within their academies, signalling a forthcoming influx of new talents onto the grand stage of football. Below, we’ll mention three of the finest Zambian players actively engaged in top-tier European football.
Patson Daka – Leicester City (England)
Let’s begin with Patson Daka, currently Zambia’s standout player. He operates as a striker for Leicester City in the English Championship, having made the switch in 2021 from Red Bull Salzburg in a remarkable €30 million deal.
During his time at Salzburg, Daka amassed an impressive collection of trophies and clinched the top scorer title in the Austrian Bundesliga with 27 goals. His move to Leicester City has seen him secure the English Super Cup victory and net 14 goals thus far.
Daka’s dynamic speed and explosiveness consistently trouble opposing defences, and at just 24 years old, his potential for further improvement holds great promise for the future.
Fashion Sakala – Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)
Moving on to Fashion Sakala, aged 25, who is contracted with Glasgow Rangers. His arrival in 2021 swiftly established him as an integral figure, frequently featuring in starting lineups. While a striker by trade, Sakala often occupies the right winger role at Rangers, showcasing his pace and adept dribbling.
Sakala celebrated a Scottish Cup victory in his debut season at the club. Before his Scottish Premier League debut, he showcased his prowess in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League with KV Oostende, amassing 31 goals and 10 assists across 102 matches.
Lameck Banda – Lecce (Italy)
Lastly, Lameck Banda, a 22-year-old left winger, is poised for a promising future. He commands a regular starting spot at Lecce in Serie A after joining from Israeli team Maccabi Petah Tikva during the summer transfer window of 2022.
Despite his stature, Banda’s exceptional speed lends itself well to Lecce’s style of play. His football journey commenced at Nkwazi FC before progressing to ZESCO United FC. His talents attracted the attention of Arsenal Tula scouts, leading him to Russia in pursuit of top-tier football. Despite challenges along the way, his persistence ultimately bore fruit.