Orlando Pride: Barbra Banda touches down to wholesome welcome party

Barbra Banda celebrates during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup Group C football match between Costa Rica and Zambia
Barbra Banda celebrates during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup Group C football match between Costa Rica and Zambia (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Zambia international Barbra Banda has finally arrived at Orlando Pride following her near-record transfer. The forward signed for the NWSL outfit last month in a deal that makes her the second most expensive women’s player of all time.

A huge welcome party greeted Banda at Orlando International Airport upon her arrival in Florida on Sunday. 

Banda joined Orlando from Chinese Women’s Super League side Shanghai Shengli for $740,000 (£581,000). She has signed a four-year deal that will take her through to the end of the 2027 campaign.

That transfer fee is only surpassed by the $860,000 (£685,000) fee NSWL newcomers Bay FC paid Madrid CFF for Banda’s international teammate Racheal Kundananji in February.

The Pride have also negotiated a sell-on clause for any future transfer of Banda who, in 2021, became the first player ever to score hat-tricks in back-to-back Olympic matches as she netted against the Netherlands and China.

Since making her international debut for the Copper Queens in 2016, the 24-year-old has gone on to make 58 appearances, scoring 51 times.

Orlando Pride is very happy

Speaking to the Orlando Pride website, Owner and Chair Mark Wilf said: “It has always been our vision to build the Orlando Pride into an NWSL Championship contender, and we believe investment in the world’s best players is a prerequisite for success. Barbra Banda brings a new level of technical skill, physicality and pace to our attack, and she is an exciting and entertaining addition to our roster.”

Banda can’t wait to start for Orlando Pride

“I am very excited to join Orlando Pride. It’s a great club, and I love what they’re building. The National Women’s Soccer League is one of the most competitive and strongest leagues in the world. So it’s very humbling to get a chance to play in it.”

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Orlando Pride are currently fifth in the NWSL table with six points, four behind league leaders Kansas City Current. Banda will be in contention to face San Diego Wave this weekend.

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