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Bunjira slams CAF for banning Zambian captain Barbra Banda

Former Warriors forward Alois Bunjira has slammed the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for its decision to bar the Zambian Women’s Senior National Team skipper Barbra Banda from participating at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament that is already underway in Morocco.

Bunjira’s sentiments come after Banda who plays for the Chinese top flight outfit Shanghai Shengli failed gender eligibility tests owing to high testosterone levels.

It is reported that the highly rated forward failed to meet the gender criteria required by the two football governing bodies FIFA and CAF.

According to reports, it was found that Banda had an excessively high level of testosterone and a “manly body” after some blood tests were carried out.

This was confirmed by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Amanda Kamanga who stated that the 22-year-old forward did not meet the criteria required by the continental football owners CAF.

“All the players had to undergo gender verification, a Caf requirement, and unfortunately she did not meet the criteria set by Caf,” she told the BBC Sport Africa.

However, the decision did not sit well with Bunjira a former athlete who believes it is ‘unfair’ and also kills the competitive part of the game.

Alois Bunjira is a former Caps United and Zimbabwe national football team striker who also played in the South African Premiership.
Alois Bunjira is a former Caps United and Zimbabwe national football team striker who also played in the South African Premiership.

Bunjira further took a dig at CAF by describing the continental football governing body as ‘a big let down’.

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The ex-CAPS United, Darren T, Mamelodi Sundowns and FC AK player argued that athletes were born differently and hence not permitting some to partake in certain tournaments is a huge disadvantage to their careers.

“We were born different. Others are more muscular vamwe vakatsonga. Others are tall others are short. Others have high levels of creatine others low. Others have high levels of testosterone, even among men and others have low,” said Bunjira.

“That is what makes people different and gives ground competition. Ng’olo Kante competes with players like Ibrahimovich while Bernado Silva competes against the towering VVD and they all have different strengths and energy.

“I would understand if Barbara Banda had two organs or has a male organ or is transgender,” he added, “But as long as she (Banda) has everything (organs) that makes a woman, including ovaries, why should she be judged as a man?”

Moreover, Zola as Bunjira was nicknamed during his playing days believes the move is more sort of a ‘racist attack and unjust’.

“The decision on Banda is outright low key Racism and unjust. Tikazotanga kuti ndiani ane more testosterone, more creatine, more muscle, taller, bigger bones, more power, hapana zvatinenge takuita.

“This defeats the whole purpose of a competition. Why would you ask someone “to take tablets so that you give us a chance to beat you”?

“Why should she take take tablets to alter her natural make up as a woman? Why are the tests targeted anyway. Why ain’t they done across all women in sport, as a criteria to compete?

“Haven’t we seen sportswomen with an amazing and superior power/strength in sports around the world? Why haven’t they been tested for testosterone?

“As long Banda has got boobs, Vjajay and ovaries then she is a woman, period. Zvekuzoti akareba ,muscular or stronger than others is grossly an unfair practice.

“This is a woman whose career comes crashing down, her whole life and future because some few weak girls complained. Should she now compete with men? Or should men with low testosterone compete with women?

“If I had my way, I would write a whole Petition to FIFA seeking justice for Barbara Banda. CAF is a big let down on this one. #JusticeForBarbaraBanda.”

Meanwhile, Banda’s situation is similar to that of South African athlete Caster Semenya who also is not permitted to compete across a number of competitions due to pending gender eligibility issues.