MOSES MWANZA writes
THE Zambia Women’s national team made history in March when they qualified the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after seeing off Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Kenya before beating arguably the best team in Africa Cameroon.
One of the key players in that team is Indeni Roses tall towering defensive midfielder, Rhoda Chileshe.
Born on 8 May 1998, Chileshe is a product of Bauleni United Sports Academy (BUSA) where she started playing from way back before she joined Zesco Ndola Girls in 2015 were she only spent two years before switching to their arch-rivals within the city Indeni Roses where she’s currently playing.
Chileshe was part of the 2015 Zesco Ndola Girls team that won the FAZ Copperbelt Women’s League title and she has also helped Indeni Roses to back-to-back league triumphs in 2018 and 2019.
Chileshe made her national team debut for the Zambia under-20 Women’s National Team on Sunday, 27th September 2015 at Nkoloma Stadium against South Africa which was a 2016 Papua New Guinea Under-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier match which ended nil-nil before the Junior Copper Queens were defeated 3-2 in the return match by Batsesana.
And a year later she made her first senior Women’s National Team appearance against Namibia which was another home tie in the 2016 Cameroon Africa Women Championship qualifier on Sunday 6th March 2016 in the match which ended 3-1 in favour of the Copper Queens. She went on and featured in the return match against the Brave Gladiators in Windhoek which ended 2-2 and overall aggregate was 5-3 in favor of the Copper Queens and qualified to the next round.
Since then she has never looked back and has cemented her place in the Copper Queens squad and she is arguably the best holding midfielder in the country at the moment.
The ZamFoot Crew took time to find out how Chileshe’s footballing journey has unfolded from playing bare feet to being the best defensive midfielder in the country, a reliable National Team player, and on the way to the Olympics.
ZAMFOOT – Thank you very much for sparing time to talk to us, Rhoda. We know a lot of people like to call you Pogba (laughs), welcome to this interview.
First things first, how did you find yourself playing football.
RC – Football for me it’s a calling from God I was just born with it that’s all I can say. When I was young I had that feeling and dream of playing football. I used to go and watch some people on the ground whom I used to admire play Chimpombwa.
So one day I got more interested and I went to watch them play as usual, by then I was staying in Bauleni. Therefore I joined Bauleni United Sports Academy (BUSA) through friends who used to play from the same team and that’s how I found myself playing football.
ZAMFOOT – Which match would you say was the most memorable for you?
RC – My memorable game was the Tokyo Olympics Qualifier home match against Zimbabwe, we won 5-0 and on that day I really expressed myself with a great outcome, I played according to my will and I had put all my efforts and level best, I was fearless that’s why we achieved a positive result and I was motivated.
ZAMFOOT – Having mentioned that memorable match, last year you lost to South Africa during the 2019 COSAFA Championship final, and on the road to the Olympics you suffered an early injury against Cameroon which one between the two games would you say was your worst.
RC – Well my worst game was Cameron against Zambia away in Yaounde. It was my worst game because I had planned and trained so hard for it, suddenly I got an unnecessary injury and I didn’t even play more than 20 minutes it was really the worst game for me.
ZAMFOOT – That should have been painful right but let’s talk about your favorite players both local and international and give us the reasons why you like them.
RC – Locally it’s Zesco United Midfielder Kondwani Mtonga he’s my favoriteplayer because he knows how to hold and use the ball on his legs he doesn’t lose the balls cheaply, he plays simple and I always look up to him, I admire his style of play a lot he inspires me the genius defensive midfielder with fewer touches.
RC – Internationally I have two favorite French players there’s Amandine Henry who plays for Olympic Lyon female team and Paul Pogba from Manchester United, I like and admire their style of play they inspire me too, I look up to them as well they motivate me whenever I watch them in action and I would really want to play like them one day.
ZAMFOOT – As we are about to wrap up this interview, what has been your greatest achievement whilst playing football.
RC – I have achieved so many things in my football career, the main one is that I was employed by Indeni Petroleum Company, so I am not only a footballer but am working for the company as well so it’s a big achievement for me.
ZAMFOOT – Let’s talk about family, how much support do you get from your homies?
RC – My whole family is always giving out all their best and plenty of support to me which I always appreciate, they have been supportive from the time I started playing football at a young age.
ZAMFOOT – Lastly, what’s your target when it comes to your football career.
RC – My target for now in my career is to play professional football outside the country so that I can achieve more than I have done, I would love to play for Barcelona which is my dream team.