Zambia women’s team midfielder Evarine Katongo is heading for trials at Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies that hopefully will defuse her player-versus -club stand-off back home.

The 20-year-old midfielder who plays for Zambian Women’s Super League side ZISD is set for a two-week trial period with the 2021 CAF Women’s Champions League winners and 2022 African club runners-up.

Katongo is the first female Zambian player to be officially courted by a top South African ladies club.

“We would like to congratulate Katongo for being invited for this trial to Sundowns Ladies, the number one Women’s team in Africa,” ZISD general secretary Elijah Lungu told Diggers News.

“This is one of the huge international moves we plan for Zambia women’s football at ZISD as we are working overnight to build our international connections.”

The trial comes after Katongo’s break-out year in 2022 following a quiet debut at the Olympics on July 27, 2021, as a substitute in Zambia’s final Group F game that they lost 1-0 to Brazil.

Last July, Katongo dived into the deep-end at the 2022 Women’s AFCON Tournament in Morocco where Zambia finished third to secure their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification.

She won player of the match in that third place playoff game following an inspiring midfield performance against Nigeria.

Zambia went on to beat the then outgoing WAFCON champions and record 10-time African queens 1-0 to bronze.

Meanwhile, Katongo heads to Sundowns Ladies on the back of an impasse back at her Zambian club.

Katongo has not tasted competitive league action for ZISD since returning from Morocco in late July.

This follows ZISD’s decision not to release her to join Zambian champions Green Buffaloes.

And since then, Katongo has boycotted training at ZISD to force a transfer to Buffaloes, the club that represented Zambia at November’s 2022 CAF Women’s Champions League after winning the COSAFA Zone qualifying tournament earlier in August.

Since then, Katongo has reportedly been staying fit training with a boys’ outfit in Lusaka’s Kanyama Township.

Katongo though is contracted to ZISD until 2024 after extending her deal with the Lusaka club last year.

Hopefully, this overture from Sundowns Ladies can bring a reasonable conclusion to this stand-off.

But not sooner had the Sundowns Ladies trial come through, than had public opinion swelled that the South African giants just sign Katongo out-rightly because she is a proven international player.

One cannot fault Sundowns Ladies gesture, though, despite Katongo massive talent.

Sundowns Ladies may just want to be a little cautious about signing a player who is does not have any competitive match fitness since she lifted the 2022 COSAFA Cup title with Zambia in October and played in two friendlies away against Colombia in November.

Meanwhile, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be jointly hosted by Australia and Zealand kicks off this July.

That is not very far away and Katongo must do the most pragmatic thing.

Katongo needs to clock substantial competitive club match hours between now and May before national teams hit first gear in May and June with pre-FIFA Women’s World Cup camp and friendlies.


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