Zambia’s Road to the 2024 Paris Olympics: Challenges and Opportunities for the Copper Queens

Zambia’s Road to the 2024 Paris Olympics: Challenges and Opportunities for the Copper Queens


Zambia is set to participate in the upcoming Paris Olympics, with a strong presence in various sports disciplines. Football, being one of the most popular sports, garners significant attention, especially with the Copper Queens making their second Olympic appearance.

Historical Context and Recent Achievements

The Copper Queens’ journey to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 marked a significant milestone, where they secured their spot by defeating Cameroon in the playoffs. Despite a challenging debut match against the Netherlands, where they lost 10-3, they showcased resilience by drawing 4-4 with China.

Captain Barbra Banda made headlines during the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first player to score back-to-back hat-tricks in an Olympic competition, a record that still stands. The team has since built on this momentum, earning a spot in the 2023 World Cup for the first time in Zambia’s history.

Performance at the 2023 World Cup

Zambia’s journey to the 2023 World Cup included victories over Namibia and South Africa, showcasing their potential on the global stage. Despite suffering heavy losses to Spain and Japan, they secured a 3-1 victory against Costa Rica. Barbra Banda continued to be a standout player, contributing significantly to the team’s efforts.

Transfer Market Success

The rise of Zambian players in the international transfer market has been remarkable. Racheal Kundananji and Barbra Banda are now among the most expensive female players globally, both playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in America. Additionally, Grace Chanda’s transfer to Orlando Pride highlights the growing influence of Zambian players in top-tier leagues.

Areas for Improvement

Despite these achievements, the Copper Queens face several challenges that need addressing to ensure success in the 2024 Paris Olympics:

  1. Defensive Solidity: Zambia has conceded numerous goals in recent tournaments, indicating a need for a stronger and more coordinated defense.
  2. Consistency: The team has shown moments of brilliance but lacks consistent performance throughout tournaments.
  3. Experience and Depth: While Zambia has standout players, there is a need to develop more depth and experience within the squad to compete effectively against stronger teams.
  4. Tactical Flexibility: The reliance on a single playing style has made the team predictable. Developing tactical flexibility to adapt to different opponents is crucial.
  5. Goal-Scoring Efficiency: Improving their conversion rate and developing a more clinical edge in front of goal will be vital for success.
  6. Physical Conditioning: Enhancing the physical fitness and endurance of players is necessary to match the physicality of top-tier teams.
  7. Mental Toughness: Developing mental resilience to handle the pressures and setbacks of major tournaments is essential.

The Role of Coaching and Team Dynamics

Under the leadership of Bruce Mwape, the team has achieved significant milestones. However, there is a consensus that Zambia’s success has been more reliant on individual talent than on a cohesive tactical strategy. To compete effectively in the Paris Olympics, a more structured and strategic approach is required.


The Copper Queens have demonstrated remarkable potential and resilience, but the road to the Paris Olympics demands further development and strategic adjustments. By addressing the highlighted areas for improvement, Zambia can enhance their chances of delivering strong performances and making a significant impact on the Olympic stage. The talent and determination are evident; now, it’s about refining their approach to achieve sustained success.

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