Barbra Banda, the forward from Zambia, has been banned from the African Women Cup of Nations by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Her testosterone levels were deemed to be above the permitted levels which now merit “gender verification” testing according to the Zambian Football Association’s (FAZ) communications director Sydney Mungala.
He also said they were working to find a solution with CAF, which has strcter regulations than those for the Olympics.
“The Barbra case is just one example, but the broader picture is to strive to see how these regulations can be more responsible for the general situation—not just Zambia. Many players can be affected by these regulations, and football is their livelihood. I think the CAF regulations are a lot more stringent [than Olympic regulations], and they put too much stress on testosterone levels.”
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) and sporting federations are starting to implement new rules regarding transgender athletes or the ones with a higher level of testosterone than regulation.
Barbra Banda could fall into the latter with her test levels being higher than normal despite not being transgender which could result in a longer ban.
She was originally named to Zambia’s squad after being offered “medication to help reduce her levels of testosterone” but refused to do so.
Andrew Kamanga, president of FAZ, blamed CAF for her omission however, CAF communications director Lux September denies that the organization is responsible, saying “there is no such decision from the CAF medical committee.”
Mungala seemed to concede that, while FAZ is seeking to change the CAF regulations long-term, Banda will probably not be cleared to participate in WAFCON this year.
Barbra Banda became a hot prospect in women’s football after scoring two hat tricks at last summer’s Olympics but she was mysteriously “unavailable” for Zambia’s women’s AFCON opener on Sunday for reasons that are coming to light now.