Why Zambia’s sharp-shooting Copper Queens won’t leave military behind

Despite the team’s rise on the global stage, players are often underpaid so look for opportunities in the armed forces

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Despite the increasing interest in Zambian players from clubs abroad after their impressive recent performances, which have helped the women’s national team qualify for all major international tournaments in the past two years, including the Paris Olympics, there exists a desire among them to be recruited into the Zambian military.

Earlier this month, three Copper Queens first-team players – Margaret Belemu, Ochumba Oseke and Mary Wilombe – graduated from Zambia air force training as noncommissioned officers. As a result they missed the Olympic Games qualifiers in February, having also missed the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) qualification round last November.

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