Sunday Aug 01, 2021. 10:00
Shepolopolo Zambia striker Barbara Banda’s Olympic exploits have signs of the iconic status Kalusha Bwalya earned at Seoul 1988, according to the man who was there to report on the South Korea Games.
Zambia may have made a group stage exit at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on their Women’s Football Tournament debut, but Banda left Japan with a huge reputation following her record-breaking act there.
The 21-year-old became the first footballer, man or woman, to score two hat-tricks in one Olympic Games.
Football writer Ponga Liwewe, who witnessed Kalusha’s exploits in Seoul 33 years ago, said Banda’s feat could just eclipse Kalusha’s 1988 Africa Player Award he won after his six goals in South Korea propelled Zambia to the Olympics quarterfinals.
“It is a tremulous achievement for her and the fact that she has equalled the record in two matches signifies her potential as she can may get better with more experience,” Ponga told African Football.
“She has the capability to even challenge for the FIFA World Player of the Year in the future.”
Banda bowed out of the Tokyo Games with six tournament goals that came in Shepolopolo’s 10-3 loss to the Netherlands and a 4-4 draw with China.
She is now also Africa’s Olympic women’s tournament top scorer after surpassing Nigerian Mercy Akide’s four-goal record that has stood since Athens 2004.