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Women's AFCON 2018: Barbara Banda headlines Zambia's final squad

Banda scored Zambia's first (and only) Women's AFCON goal during their debut appearance at the 2014 edition. (Photo by COSAFA Media)
by Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, AIPS Young Reporter, Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, November 7, 2018 - Zambia have become the first of eight teams heading to this year's Women's Africa Cup of Nations to announce their final squad of 21 players.

Coach Bruce Mwape unveiled his team during a media briefing which was streamed live on Facebook from the Football House of the Football Association of Zambia in Lusaka on November 6.

The Shepolopolo squad has star striker Barbara Banda as the only player who plies her trade abroad. It was only last month she completed her move to EDF Logroņo in Spain and on November 4 she scored her debut goal.

Banda scored Zambia's first (and only) Women's AFCON goal during their debut appearance at the 2014 edition. She also netted three of the teams' six goals en route to qualifying for Ghana 2018. Her 86th minute goal ensured qualification at the expense of neighbours Zimbabwe on the away goals rule.

Five other players, who featured in their debut campaign in Namibia in 2014, also made the final list for Ghana. They are Hellen Mubanga, Hazel Nali, Anita Muelnga, Grace Zulu and Mary Mwakapila.

Coach Mwape disclosed on Tuesday that the team, who on Saturday enjoyed a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Ghana in a friendly, will travel to Cote d'Ivoire on Thursday where more friendly matches have been scheduled.

Banda is expected to join the team in Abidjan from where they will head to Cape Coast, Ghana.

Zambia are in Group B alongside Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The 2018 Women's AFCON will take place from 17 November to 1 December.

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Catherine Musonda (Indeni), Hazel Nali (Green Buffaloes), Chiko Nkhoma (Red Arrows)

Defenders: Lushomo Mweemba (Nwazi), Anita Mulenga (Green Buffaloes) Margaret Belemu (Red Arrows), Martha Tembo (Green Buffaloes), Jacqueline Nkole (Indeni), Agness Musase (Green Buffaloes), Vast Phiri (Zesco), Grace Zulu (Indeni)

Midfielders: Mary Mwakapila, Ireene Lungu (Green Buffaloes), Judith Zulu (Green Buffaloes), Hellen N. Chanda (Red Arrows), Avell Chitundu (Zesco)

Forwards: Hellen Mubanga (Red Arrows), Grace Chanda (Zesco), Lubandji Ochumba Oseke (Nkwazi), Racheal Kundanaji (Indeni), Barbara Banda (EDF Logroņo, Spain)

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