Africa: Finally the Football Gods Smile On Noria Sosala As She Savours Her Zambian Place in the Sun

Sharing a birthday with Jesus Christ should be enough luck to last you a lifetime.

At least that is what the odds look like out there - to be on one's side for the most part if not entirely.

For Zambian forward Noria Sosala, playing football is a realization of a childhood dream but featuring for the national side is of even greater honour and prestige. Lining up for the Copper Queens has defined her destiny so much that whenever her name is called up, it is celebration galore.

Sosala played at her first Women's Africa Cup of Nations edition back in 2014 and it was a memorable tournament that she will never forget. It changed the way she thought about football. She started to believe that the beautiful game will change her destiny for good.

However, she suffered injury after injury after injury in the lead up to major tournaments, missing out on the 2018 WAFCON edition as well as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last year among others. At some point, she thought that she would never play football again.

"I had lost hope that I would ever return to the national team but with God's mercy and my faith, I made a comeback to the team and here I am, playing at the highest level of women's football in Africa," she says to CAF Online exclusively.

"A player should have a strong heart and never give up no matter the circumstances. Even if you have an injury, you have to put God first and secondly, discipline is very important especially to us players. You need to encourage yourself and manage your injury well by being patient and looking forward to returning on the pitch."

Sosala received immense support from those close to her who provided emotional support and continued to wish her a quick recovery.

And finally, the 33-year old is back on the big stage!

The veteran forward had to wait for her chance to come onto the pitch at this year's edition and finally got her break as the Copper Queens defeated debutants Togo 4-1 in their last Group B game last Saturday.

"I am very happy and as a team, we are very happy because we have been working hard as a team to reach the quarterfinals and we know what we want heading into the last eight. Our target is to win the WAFCON and qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023."

The four semifinalists will gain automatic qualification for the world showpiece set to be held in Australia and New Zealand next year from July 20 to August 20.

Featuring at the ongoing WAFCON has prompted Sosala to appreciate the growth and development of women's football since 2014 when she played at the continental tournament in Namibia.

"So much has changed since I played at the WAFCON here are a lot of youngsters in the tournament compared to 2014 when I was last here. There is fresh blood, everyone knows what they want and they are working hard."

"The organization of the tournament is very good compared to before, things have changed as everything is going on smoothly," Sosala adds with a smile.

"I feel like I can play for the next four years because of the way I take care of myself on and off the pitch. My club football at Indeni is going well.

"There is stiff competition in the FAZ Women's National League because the players know what they are playing for. In the provincial league, there is room for improvement but with the national league, every team is working hard and every team is working hard to get to the top."

Sosala will be hoping to get more playing time when the Copper Queens take on Senegal in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 13 at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca at 18h00 local time.

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