Zambia women’s national team captain Barbara Banda’s move to Spanish football club Real Madrid was halted following the controversy surrounding her during the 2022 Women’s Africa cup of nations (WAFCON) where she was disqualified due to gender verification rules set by the tournament organizers CAF, which bars female players with high testosterone levels from taking part in the competition.
Despite travelling with the team, Barbara was among the four players that were ruled out of the 2022 WAFCON hosted in Morocco in July.
The four also included the Spain-based duo of Racheal Kundananji and Racheal Nachula as well as Kazakhstan-based midfielder Prisca Chilufya.
After the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games where she scored six goals in two matches against Netherlands and China to become the first Woman in the games’ history to score two hat tricks in one campaign, the 22-year-old striker was sought-after by Real Madrid.
Before the WAFCON tournament, Zambia Women’s National team coach Bruce Mwape told journalists in Lusaka on June 9, 2022 that the player had been excused from the Copper Queens camp to finalize her move to the Spanish club.
“Barbara is not with us today because she has been excused to complete her move, as you may all be aware she will be joining a Spanish club,” said Mwape.
Banda who equaled an Olympic record of the most hat-tricks scored in one competition, a feat that no African female player has ever achieved, missed the Copper Queen’s first open training session in Lusaka before the team travelled to Morocco.
She was on the verge of joining the Spanish giants, especially after her treble at the Olympics which put her level with Brazilian legend Cristiane as the only player to score multiple hat-tricks in the tournament’s history with the Brazilian having scored them in two different editions and also beating Nigeria’s Mercy Akide’s all-time record of four Olympic goals by an African woman as the Zambian finished the competition with a record six goals.
The records by Banda at the Olympics triggered so much admiration from top clubs in Europe who wanted to sign her from Chinese club Shanghai Shengli but all in vain after the WAFCON brouhaha.
According to the Soccer Donna website, a women’s football transfer news outlet, Banda’s move to Real Madrid was almost a ‘done deal’ but got halted after the news of her ineligibility to play at the Women’s Africa Cup.
“The transfer of Barbra Banda to Madrid is on hold after the happenings before the Wafcon. We will see what happens next.” wrote the women’s football transfer experts.
Since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Banda has also not returned to her base in China despite having a running contract with the club. This is said to be due to the pandemic travel restrictions in that country.
She was inactive from competitive football until early this month when she returned to the Zambian national team squad at the 2022 COSAFA women’s Championship where she scored 10 goals to equal her compatriot Racheal Nachula’s record of the most goals scored by a Zambian at the competition in a single campaign.
Banda was very lethal in front of goal at the competition having scored in each of Zambia’s games including an extra-time winner in the final against South Africa to help the Copper Queens lift the regional trophy for the first time.
With the 2023 Women’s World Cup fast approaching on the 30th of July in Australia and New Zealand; and Banda eligible to play for the Copper Queens who will be making their debut at the competition, it remains to be seen if Real Madrid will refresh their negotiations for the signature of the Zambian striker who is never out of form and also reportedly being sought-after by other top European clubs.