Zambian Super Star To Play At Women’s World Cup Despite Gender Doubts
The spotlight remains on Zambia’s national women’s team, as recent days have brought forth allegations of sexual abuse against their coach, Bruce Mwape. Now, following Zambia‘s match against the German national team on Friday, Bild has raised doubts about the gender of their captain, Barbra Banda.
The team’s final friendly match before the World Cup delivered an unexpected outcome, with Zambia securing a 3-2 victory over Germany, courtesy of a brace from Banda. While her outstanding performance has made her the talk of the town, it is not solely for sporting reasons.
Throughout her career, Banda has faced persistent questioning regarding her gender. However, this will not hinder her participation in the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, set to commence in 10 days, where Zambia will face Spain as their second opponent.
According to Bild, FIFA does not require players to undergo gender testing, but it is the responsibility of national federations to conduct such procedures. As a result, the Zambian star will have the opportunity to prove herself on the global stage, even though she was denied the same opportunity during the last Africa Cup of Nations due to “medical reasons,” as stated by the Zambian Football Federation. The tests revealed that Banda had testosterone levels exceeding the normal range for women, resulting in her ineligibility to participate.
Banda has also represented Zambia at the Tokyo Olympics, where she emerged as the tournament’s second-highest scorer. Her football journey has been closely intertwined with Spain, as she initially joined EDF Logrono after leaving Zambia. Following 15 months in Spain, she moved to China to play for Shanghai Shengli FC, where she continues her career.
However, in 2022, Banda’s path took an unexpected turn when she was on the verge of signing for Real Madrid last summer. All that remained was her signature on the contract. Unfortunately, her testosterone levels once again cast doubt on her professional ambitions during the medical examination, leading the club to question her gender and subsequently remove her from their plans. As a result, Banda was compelled to return to China.