World Cup Qualification Will Transform Their Lives, Says Kanyemba

World Cup Qualification Will Transform Their Lives, Says Kanyemba

Following their remarkable achievement of securing a place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup later this year, the Copper Princesses’ head coach, Carol Kanyemba, shared her insights with CAFOnline on the significance of Zambia’s qualification for this prestigious global event.

Zambia earned their spot on Saturday, June 15, by defeating Morocco 3-1 on aggregate in the fourth and final round of qualifiers.

Coach Kanyemba reflected on how she motivated her young team and the profound impact this achievement has on their lives, their families, and the future of women’s football in Zambia.

The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in the Dominican Republic from October 16 to November 3, 2024.

Interview Highlights

Coach, congratulations on your qualification. How does it feel to have qualified for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup?

“It feels incredibly rewarding to qualify for the pinnacle of women’s football at the youth level. It’s an honor to lead this team to the World Cup, and it’s especially meaningful for me as a woman.”

Zambia is returning to the World Cup after a 10-year absence. What does this indicate about the growth of women’s football in Zambia?

“Our last qualification was a decade ago, demonstrating the country’s tremendous potential. Over the years, we’ve worked diligently to improve.

This progress is evident as Zambia has qualified for the Olympics, the World Cup, and AFCON.

Such achievements have encouraged more girls in Zambia to pursue football as a career. Returning to the World Cup is a testament to our growth.”

What contributed to this qualification despite facing tough opposition?

“Despite the challenging opposition, our players displayed remarkable attitude and work ethic. We inspired them by highlighting the achievements of former players like Barbra Banda.

This instilled a resilient and positive spirit, reminding them how their lives could change by playing in a FIFA World Cup.

We maintained a positive and optimistic approach from the start. The girls understood that qualifying could transform their lives and their families’ lives, motivating them to give their best in every match.”

Why is it important for the women’s game in Zambia to qualify for such a competition?

“Qualifying is crucial as it showcases the potential and growth of women’s football in Zambia. Historically, it was believed that women couldn’t achieve such feats, but we’ve proven otherwise.

This has changed how parents view their daughters playing football. Now, they see it as a viable career option that can change lives, altering the traditional perspective on women’s sports.”

What goals do you have for the team?

“Our first goal was to qualify, which we’ve achieved. Now, we aim to surpass the previous team’s performance by advancing beyond the group stage and performing better in subsequent matches. Once we reach that point, anything is possible.”

Personally, what goals do you want to achieve as a coach at the World Cup?

“I want to demonstrate my coaching abilities and lead the girls to greater success. My goal is to instill positivity in the team and see how much I can grow as a coach. When we return to Zambia, I aim to further enhance women’s football in our country.”

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