Zambia’s Women National Team take on European champions Netherlands in their first match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games today at Miyagi Stadium in a 13:00 hours kickoff.
The Copper Queens will be Africa’s only representatives and have a tough test against the Dutch that were also finalists at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Zambia’s women football has been on the rise with the Olympic team having four foreign based players lead by captain Barbara Banda who plies her trade in China for Shanghai Shengli. Banda was previously on the books of EDF Logrono in Spain but followed the big money in Asia.
Others are Helen Mubanga (CFF Zaragoza), Rachael Kundananji (BIIK Kazygurt) and goalkeeper Hazel Nali (Hapoel Beersheva).
The Copper Queens suffered an injury casualty in Spain based Rachael Nachula who is attended the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as a runner.
Ironically, the Dutch women’s team is called The Oranje Leeuwinnen (Orange Lionsses) and will be led by Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema, who is the record goal scorer in the English Women’s Super League (WSL).
The 24-year-old star player recorded yet another impressive campaign with the London club this season, bagging 18 goals and five assists in just 22 games. On the left flank will be Lieke Martens who comes into the tournament on the back of winning the domestic treble in Spain with FC Barcelona.
Martens, and teammate Caroline Graham Hansen, were the wingers for Barça in the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League final and were heavily responsible for the first-half dismantling of Chelsea which set the platform for their victory.
Also in the squad is Manchester United’s midfield maestro Jackie Groenen, Dutch veteran Sherida Spitse, and PSV goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal who won the Golden Glove at the 2019 World Cup after an impressive tournament.
The match will be live at 13:00 hours CAT on the La Liga/Olympics Channel 3 on Supersport. In the early Group F kickoff China faces Brazil at 10:00 hours CAT.
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