Zambia World Cup 2023 fixtures, betting odds and statistics
How did Zambia qualify?
Zambia qualified via the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, They topped their group unbeaten, finishing above Cameroon, Tunisia and Togo, beat Senegal in the quarter-finals on penalties before a 1-0 defeat to South Africa in the semis. All four semi-finalists qualified for the World Cup automatically.
Zambia’s major tournament record
Best World Cup result: Set to make their debut.
Africa Cup of Nations
Best Africa Cup of Nations result: Semi-finals 2022.
Best Olympics result: Group Stage- 2021.
Zambia at World Cup 2023
Zambia are set to make their debut at a World Cup, so can Group C’s rank-outsiders avoid going home early?
Just two summers ago, the Copper Queens did get to test themselves on the world stage, representing Africa at the Olympic Games.
To say their brief campaign was eventful would be an understatement.
First, Bruce Mwape’s team were beaten 10-3 by Netherlands, conceding six in the first half before Barbra Banda scored a hat-trick.
However, they then held China PR to a breathless 4-4, with Banda bagging another three goals, before far-more low-key 1-0 defeat to Brazil ended their very short time in Japan.
Even with their last game ended 1-0, Zambia’s three fixtures at that Olympics produced 22 goals, while you have to feel sorry for Banda; imagine scoring two hat-tricks, only for your team to accumulate just one point!
Since then, they’ve qualified for a first-ever World Cup, with a penalty shootout victory in last year’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final over Senegal the result that got them here.
As recently as April, Zambia played a double-header of friendlies in the Korea Republic, hammered 5-2 and 5-0, further emphasising their minnows status.
Their first two games, facing Japan and Spain, look extremely tough, although the Copper Queens will be more hopeful of a result in their third group fixture, facing Costa Rica in Hamilton.
Nevertheless, without wanting to write off a team before a ball is kicked, they are the lowest-ranked team heading down under for a reason, so it would be a minor miracle if Zambia won a game.
Zambia team news
Esther Siamfuko, Comfort Selemani, and Rhoda Chileshe were all on the provisional roster, but were cut when the final 23-player squad was announced on Monday 3 July.
Zambia′s key players: Grace Chanda
Despite their minnow status, Zambia do have a few players who ply their trade at a high level, one of which is attacking midfielder Grace Chanda.
After a brief spell with BİIK Kazyğūrt in Kazakhstan, Chanda joined Madrid CFF last summer, helping them finish fifth in Liga F this season.
She was the top scorer in African Olympic qualifying in 2019, netting eight times, with her most-recent competitive goals coming at last summer’s WAFCON, a brace against Togo.
Zambia′s key players: Racheal Kundananji
Chanda’s club teammate Racheal Kundananji has really made a name for herself in Liga F this season, scoring 25 goals, the second-most of any player in Spain’s top-flight.
Amazingly, the 22 year old forward scored 16 goals in her last 13 Liga F outings, most-recently bagging a brace in a famous win over champions Barcelona, inflicting Barça’s first domestic defeat for 719 days.
Despite only having spent a season at Matapiñoneras, Kundananji is likely to make a move away from Madrid CFF this summer, and strong performances at this tournament will only enhance her growing reputation.
Zambia′s key players: Barbra Banda
A final member of Zambia’s frightening front three is Barbra Banda who, as previously mentioned, scored not one but two hat-trick at the Olympic Games in 2021, bagging trebles against Holland and China.
This makes her the first, and so far only, women to score multiple hat-trick at the same Olympics, achieving this in the space of four days.
In total, Banda has scored a remarkable 36 goals in 37 appearances for her country,
Last summer though, she controversially did not feature at WAFCON after a gender verification test found that her natural testosterone levels were above those allowed by CAF.
This sparked outrage from Human Rights Watch, and others, with HRW commenting that this was a “clear violation” of her human rights.
Back in December, FIFA confirmed Banda will be eligible to play at the World Cup, which is excellent news for all involved.
In terms of club football, she’s much more of an unknown, in Europe at least, given that she’s been plying her trade for Shànghǎi Shengli since 2020.
In her debut season, she was the top scorer in the Chinese Super League, netting 18 times, scoring five in her first three appearances of 2023, including a hat-trick in Chángchūn.
Zambia′s possible starting line-up for World Cup 2023
Zambia′s full squad for World Cup 2023
|Hazel Nali||22||0||Fatih Vatan Spor|
|Eunice Sakala||2||0||Nkwazi Queens|
|Margaret Belemu||35||2||Shànghǎi Shengli|
|Agness Musesa||24||0||Green Buffaloes|
|Lushomo Mweemba||35||1||Green Buffaloes|
|Mary Mulenga||3||0||Red Arrows|
|Vast Phiri||6||0||ZESCO United|
|Esther Banda||2||0||Bauleni United|
|Judith Soko||1||0||YASA Queens|
|Mary Wilombe||27||1||Red Arrows|
|Evarine Katongo||23||1||ZISD Queens|
|Avell Chitundu||21||3||ZESCO United|
|Hellen Mubanga||7||0||Zaragoza CFF|
|Susan Banda||1||0||Red Arrows|
|Barbra Banda||37||28||Shànghǎi Shengli|
|Grace Chanda||34||12||Madrid CFF|
|Racheal Kundananji||13||8||Madrid CFF|
|Ochumba Oseke Lubandji||28||4||Red Arrows|
|Xiomara Mapepa||19||3||Lusaka Dynamos|