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Zambia make history in Olympic football massacre

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Zambia women’s football team had an Olympic debut they will never forget – for good and bad reasons – as they faced European champions the Netherlands.

Despite conceding 10 goals against the 2019 World Cup runners-up, the world’s 104th-ranked side had plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

Captain Barbra Banda made history for the Copper Queens, scoring her country’s first ever women’s goal at an Olympics.

The 21-year-old striker, who has also been a professional boxer, went on to score a hat-trick, becoming the first female African player to score three goals at a Games.

Zambia upset the odds to become Africa’s sole representative in Tokyo, defeating 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifiers Cameroon in a play-off to take the sought-after slot, above even the might of Africa’s record nine-time champions Nigeria.

They were huge underdogs against the Netherlands – a side 100 places higher in the world rankings – and the star-studded Dutch, managed by future England boss Sarina Wiegman, were too much for them.

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Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema scored four times for the Netherlands, who were also making their debut as they set a new record for the most goals scored by one team in an Olympic game.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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