Zanaco FC Launch Women’s Team
Zanaco Football Club has joined the growing legion of teams opening women football sides with General Manager Marlon Kananda underscoring the three-year path that will take the club into the top tier of the Zambian game.
And the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has congratulated Zanaco Football Club for launching a women’s team that will compete in the Lusaka Province league.
Speaking during the launch at the Zanaco Football Club secretariat, FAZ Head of Finance Owen Buntele said that increasing participation of women in football was a critical component of the FAZ 10-Year strategic plan.
Buntele, who spoke on behalf of FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala said women football was on an upward trajectory with milestones such as the qualification of the Copper Queens to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games triggering widespread interest in the ladies’ game.
“As part of its strategic development program FAZ has 11 strategic objectives of which strategic objective number five is to develop and implement strategies that will increase participation of women in football at all levels. Therefore, FAZ has been rolling out various programs that have put women football in the driving seat of our game,” he said.
He said that FAZ was delighted that many teams had heeded the call to professionally run women’s clubs alongside men’s teams.
“I am happy that Zanaco Football Club that has been a trailblazer in many aspects of the men’s game has taken this giant step of forming a women’s team. This is very exciting news for us because we know how well managed Zanaco Football Club,” he said.
“It is through such high calibre teams coming on board that our game will soar to higher heights. Zanaco joins many other progressive clubs like Green Buffaloes, Red Arrows, National Assembly, Lusaka Dynamos, Napsa Stars, Nkana, Zesco United, Mufulira Wanderers and Indeni among others in having men’s teams run side by side with women’s teams.”
And Kananda said the launch of a women’s football team was a historic feat for the club founded in 1978.
“Everybody knows that Zanaco has never had a women’s team since inception in 1978. But today marks a new journey for us as Zanaco, we are excited that finally we have launched the ladies’ team,” he said.
“It is exciting but at the same time we are also supporting what most stakeholders have been talking about which is ladies’ sport, not only football.”
Kananda said the call by Republican Vice President Inonge Wina to support the Copper Queens was timely.
“We are looking at this talent that we hope that one day they will play in the national team and this is what brings excitement to us. We are confident that will groom national team players,” he said.
Kananda said women football was breaking new grounds as happened in 2015 when Canada hosted the FIFA World Cup for women with a record viewership in America and the 2019 1.1 billion viewers for the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup in France.
The newly formed Zanaco Football Club Ladies’ Team will be coached by Florence Chalabesa who is also under-20 women’s national team assistant coach.
Others on the bench are Sarah Chungu, Kaunda Mukonde and Bright Kunda.
The team’s opening match in the provincial league will be against Lusaka Queens on Sunday.
FAZ has launched a 14-team national women’s league that enters Week Four this weekend.
Additionally, provincial leagues have also kicked off across the board creating a new wave of excitement among advocates of women football and the general populace.