Harare – It was not the dream Olympic debut that the Zambia women’s football team hoped for, but there was a silver lining in the cloud of the 3-10 drubbing the Copper Queens suffered at the hands of the Netherlands on Wednesday at Rifu Stadium.
Zambia captain Barbara Banda (21) showed that while Africa’s sole representatives in the women’s Olympic tournament are in for a tough time, they had shining lights among them.
Banda banged in all three of Zambia’s goals, to become the first African footballer to score an Olympics hat-trick. She plays club football with Shanghai Shengli in the Chinese Super League.
Making their Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, Zambia came face to face with the harsh reality of international football as they found themselves trailing by three goals inside a quarter of an hour.
Banda pulled one back for the Copper Queens four minutes later, to write her own piece of history as she became the first Zambian player to score a goal for the Southern African side at a global tournament.
The goal did not deter the Dutch women as they continued to run riot scoring three more goals before the half-time break, ending the first period of the match leading by six goals to one.
After the break, the Netherlands continued with their fine form, adding four more goals to become the first country to score 10 goals in an Olympic match.
With game dead and buried, Banda showed she had unfinished business of her own as she scored twice in the last eight minutes.
Her hat-trick also meant that she became the leading African goal-scorer in Olympics history, overtaking the Nigerian duo of Mercy Akide and Perpetua Nkwocha, who are tied on two goals each.