LUSAKA (Reuters) – After clinching the top scorer award in the Women’s Chinese Super League, Zambian footballer Barbra Banda is inspiring girls at home to follow in her footsteps.
The 20-year-old won the Golden Boot of China’s top flight after scoring 18 goals in 13 games.
The powerful forward, playing her debut season in China, finished the campaign nine goals ahead of her nearest challenger Temwa Chawinga of Wuhan Jianghan. Having helped her side seal third place in the standings, Banda has been the talk of the league.
“I have made my name there, everyone is talking about me, which is a good thing. Wherever you go, you just have to do your best,” Banda told Reuters at a training session in Lusaka, where she has returned during the Chinese Super League close season.
“It’s not that I am the best but I think it’s the effort that I am putting in as myself and my talent … because talent can be there but if I am not determined, I can’t go anywhere,” she said.
Banda, who plays for the Zambian national team and played in Spain before moving to China, is one of a small group of young female players from Africa playing abroad.
“Many players are inspired by what Barbra is doing. I myself, I think I have inspired Barbra but now I think she inspires me,” Lusaka Dynamos Women’s team head coach Enala Simbeya said, as her team trained with Banda.
“So even having her right here at the pitch is an inspiration to the team because the girls are now having a focus. At least they have a dream and they have seen another girl achieve it,” Simbeya added.
Lusaka Dynamos striker Salome Kizomba said she was in awe of Banda’s skills after closely watching her play for the past six months.
“She is strong and courageous and even her kind of play is amazing, it’s different from other football players in Africa,” Kizomba said.