STRIKER CRAVING FOR TOKYO

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By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

THIS award is testimony of hard work and dedication, and I pledge to even perform better to help Zambia qualify to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, says Zambia national women soccer team striker and 1500m gold medallist Rachael Kundananji.

On Thursday night, Kundananji was named the Sports Woman of the Year at the 2019 Stanbic Anakazi Banking Zambia Women of the Year Awards held at Hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka.

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Mwazipeza Chanda received the award on behalf of Kundananji.

The Zambian striker recently signed for Kazakhstan champions Biik Kazygurt on a two-year-long loan deal from Indeni Roses. Speaking in an interview from Kazakhstan yesterday, Kundananji said she was excited to have received the award.

“I am happy to have been named the Sports’ woman of the year at Thursday’s event. This is a plus for my career and thank the organisers for recognising my contribution to Zambian sports.

I owe my success to my club Indeni, national team, all the coaches involved and FAZ,” she said.

She said her 2019 target is to influence Zambia’s maiden women qualification to the Olympics.

She added that Zambia had quality players that can realise the Olympic dreams.

“I will work harder to assist Zambia storm the Olympics in Japan. I believe with hard work, dedication and discipline, the Olympics is not a far-fetched dream,” she said.

Zambia will on April 1, take on Zimbabwe in the second round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers.

Kundananji, 18, displayed an outstanding performance last both in football and athletics.

She scored a hatrick in Zambia’s 3-2 win over Ghana in a friendly at Nkoloma Stadium last November.

The fast paced striker manged to grab three goals at the Ghana 2018 Africa Cup women Championship hosted in Ghana where Zambia was booted out in the preliminary round.

Kundananji showed her dominance on the tracks when she grabbed gold in 1,500m race at the Botswana 2018 Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Games.

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