Ghana’s Nora Hauptle in love with Copper Queens, reveals almost signing Barbra Banda

Published on: 30 March 2024

When the Ghana Women’s National Team lost to Zambia in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers last month, their coach Nora Hauptle praised the Copper Queens, saying they are a good team to coach but needed to “adjust their tactical screws.”

Her statement elicited mixed reactions, but the majority of Zambian fans appeared to agree with her, with some even asking the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) on social media to consider hiring her as Copper Queens coach to replace Bruce Mwape, whose tactics were criticised.

This came after Zambia struggled to beat Hauptle’s side. Ghana led 3-2 in the second leg of the qualifier until the final minute, when Barbra Banda scored a free kick for a 3-3 draw and a 4-3 aggregate win.

Regardless, Hauptle maintained that her team outperformed Zambia. She also stated that she knew every Zambian player.

“As I told you in the pre-press conference, I watched all 21 games for Zambia last year. I know every player inside and out, and we did a very good analysis with our staff, like we always do,” she told reporters at the Levy Mwanawansa stadium in Ndola last month.

She continued: “I believe Zambia can get very far with this team, even in the top ten in the world but they need to adjust some tactical screws. There are still things to work on on this team but kudos to a fantastic team. I think it’s nice to coach them; let’s see how they will perform at the Olympics.”

Hauptle was a defender in Europe and represented Switzerland on the international level before retiring in 2009 and immediately transitioning into coaching.

She worked with youth teams in her home country before moving on to coach SC Sand in the German Frauen-Bundesliga, where she was the league’s only female coach at the time.

Hauptle’s admiration for Zambian players predates 2024

Her interest in Zambian players appears to predate this year. She revealed that while at SC Sand, she tried to sign Zambian star Barbra Banda in 2020.

“She [Barbra Banda] was already in China during the Covid season and their league was on hold,” Hauptle told BBC Sport. “So we put in an offer, but her salary was too high to get her on loan.”

Hauptle left SC Sand in 2021 and, after a brief stint in Israel, moved to Ghana, where she went nine games unbeaten and helped the Black Queens qualify for this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

After losing to Zambia in Ndola, she vowed to continue making life difficult for the Copper Queens if they meet again at the WAFCON, the dates of which have yet to be determined.

Many Zambian fans, however, believed she was positioning herself for the top job with the Copper Queens, a team she admits to admiring.