Zambian Soccer Player Barbra Banda Ruled Ineligible Due to ‘Gender Verification’ Tests

Zambian women’s soccer star Barbra Banda has been ruled out of competition for the upcoming WAFCON 2022 due to high levels testosterone levels and a failed gender verification test.

Testing to join Africa’s Cup of Nations tourney has been mandated by the African soccer confederation in association with regulations set by FIFA.

The 22-year-old phenom caught viewers’ attention during the 2020 Olympics after scoring back-to-back hat-tricks against Netherlands and China.

“All the players had to undergo gender verification, a CAF requirement, and unfortunately she did not meet the criteria set by CAF,” Andrew Kamanga, president of Zambia’s soccer federation (FAZ), relayed to BBC Sports Africa.

“It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves going into the tournament without our best players.”

Banda was reportedly offered medication to lower testosterone levels but refused to take them.

The federation’s communications director, Sydney Mungala, says the team was notified of Banda’s possible ineligibility due to the heightened testosterone levels, which fell outside CAF’s guidelines.

“Our medics engaged the players, and they weren’t willing to go through with it — I think there are possible side effects,” Mungala stated. “With the players not going down that route and taking up that option, the final decision was that they could not be included in the final list for the competition.”

“Our FA president [Kamanga] is in Morocco and has been pursuing this matter with his colleagues in CAF,” Mungala added. “I think the CAF regulations are a lot more stringent [than Olympic regulations], and they put too much stress on testosterone levels.”

According to the CAF guidelines, qualifying female players cannot “show any perceived deviation in secondary sex characteristics and are therefore presumed to be of female gender.”

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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