DOUBLE DUTY: 13 Copper Queens soar as ZAF Airwomen

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THIRTEEN members of Zambia’s Women’s National Football Team, the formidable Copper Queens, have traded their cleats for combat boots after graduating as non-commissioned officers in the Zambia Air Force (ZAF).

These footballers took flight alongside 750 other recruits, completing a rigorous six-month training program that culminated on March 28, yesterday at the Kapotwe Chintu Military Training School in Mbala Northern Province.

This news follows through on a 2022 promise by former ZAF Commander Lieutenant General Collin Barry, who extended his wing to all Red Arrows Women’s Football Club players after their stellar performance in the league. 

The promise also enveloped the three Copper Queens who displayed their grit at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco where the team came out on number 3.

These players include Margaret Belemu, Mary Wilombe, and Ochumba Oseke Lubanji.

During the announcement then, Belemu thanked the Air Force Commander and said joining the Zambia Air Force as a soldier was a dream come true for her and her team mates.

And yesterday, the promise of the force came to pass as the three players finally passed out as non-commissioned officers since training commenced in October last year.

The trio are now donning the wings of ZAF non-commissioned officers, with their dreams of joining the force taking off.

Other Copper Queens players who found themselves on the list of the 750 new ZAF recruits applied alongside with other recruits.

These include; Milika Limwaya, Catherine Nkandu, Elizabeth Nachivula, Jane phiri, Mary Mulenga, Hellen Mubanga, Susan Nalwamba, Aliness Kasoma, Deborah Kambwili and Mwaka Mupeta.

The multifaceted talents of the Copper Queens will no longer just outmaneuver opponents on the field but also soar to serve their country in the Zambia Air Force. 

By Buumba Mwitumwa

Kalemba March 29, 2024

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