WE ARE READY - Barbra Banda
THE women’s football team is ‘very much’ ready for the Olympic Games, skipper Barbra Banda has revealed ahead of Zambia’s first match against the Netherlands on July 21.
Banda, who spoke to the media on Monday afternoon before the team’s departure the following day, said the morale for the players in was high.
She said the team was targeting a winning start during the first game to boost chances of going further in the competition.
“The morale is very high and this is the day that everyone has been waiting for,” she said.
“We are very much ready and we have prepared adequately for the Olympics. To me, the first game is always important, we have to get the three points on the first game and that’s the match that determines how far we go in the competition.”
Zambia, the only African country in the women’s competition, is in group F with China, Netherlands, and Brazil.
Banda also ruled out any feelings of intimidation due to the teams in the group, adding that she had enough experience from high level competitions to play at the Olympics.
She said Zambia was aiming for a good performance which would also help her team-mates earn opportunities to play professional football in other countries.
“We are very much ready and we have prepared adequately for the Olympics." - Banda
National team coach Bruce Mwape also spoke to the media, but on Tuesday morning, shortly before departure for Japan at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.
He revealed that the team had no major injury concerns, apart from goalkeeper Hazel Nali and defender Margaret Belemu who may need some time before they are ready play.
The women's team left shortly after the interviews for Japan and was seen off by National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) Secretary General Boniface Kambikambi.
Meanwhile, Sprinter Sydney Siame says Team Zambia will be targeting a competitive outing at the Games and not just to participate.
Siame who was speaking at Heroes Stadium during his vote of thanks when Tecno donated 42 smartphones to the team, said athletes were prepared for the challenge to represent the country proudly.
“We are going there to compete, not just to participate,” he said.
“Every one of us here has competed at the highest level so we know what it takes to be there so we will do our level best and we shall do wonders.”
Siame will be among 30 athletes from five different sports disciplines that will be representing the country at the Games this year.
“We are going there to compete, not just to participate,” - Siame