The match between Mighty Warriors’ of Zimbabwe and Shepolopolo in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifier was delayed by 30minutes today as Zimbabwe queried Barbara Banda’s gender.
Zimbabwe officials demanded evidence that Shepolopolo’s Barbara was a woman before the match commenced.
“We are suspecting that one player by the name Barbara is a boy. We won’t play until we are given access to his/her passport,” Zimbabwe Head of delegation, Cecilia Gambe said.
Commenting on the incident, Barbara said the allegations that she was a boy had disturbed her performance today.
” It’s my first time to be told that I am a boy. I am really hurt but it’s life. This really disturbed my performance as I could not concentrate properly,” she told LusakaVoice.
Zambia Football Association Vice President, Bornface Mwamelo said he was disappointed by Zimbabwe’s conduct.
” I am very disappointed. How could they question Barbara’s gender just five minutes before the match? I think this was a deliberate move to frustrate Shepolopolo because Barbara is our key player. They should launch a formal complaint to FIFA,” he said.
Despite the bad start, Shepolopolo won the match by 2-1 with Barbara Banda and Helen Mubanga scoring.