• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Meet Zambian Racheal Kundananji, the most expensive transfer in women’s football at $860,000

Meet Zambian Racheal Kundananji, the most expensive transfer in women’s football at $860,000

Zambian women’s football sensation Racheal Kundananji shattered a new world transfer record by clinching a groundbreaking move to the United States National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) with Bay FC.

Kundananji completed the most expensive transfer in women’s football after joining Bay FC in California from Real Madrid CFF a record transfer valued at $860,000 (£685,000) in a four-year deal until 2027.

This is the first time an African player – female or male is breaking the world transfer record. Kundananji’s transfer not only sets a new transfer benchmark but also establishes her as the most expensive player in the history of women’s football.

“Bay FC, the Bay Area’s new women’s professional soccer franchise in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), acquired the rights to Zambian international Racheal Kundananji through a transfer with Spanish side Madrid CFF in exchange for a transfer fee,” the club said in a statement.

“Following the transfer, the forward was signed to a contract through the 2027 season with an option for the 2028 campaign. She will join the team and be added to the roster pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Kundananji will occupy an international roster spot.”

In 2018, Kundananji showcased her talent with Ideni Roses in Zambia’s Copperbelt Women’s League, where she scored 21 goals in 18 matches, helping the team clinch the league title.

The 23-year-old forward started her professional career with BIIK Kazygurt in Kazakhstan back in 2019. She also made history as the first African, male or female, to break a world transfer record.

Embarking on a fresh chapter, the Zambian forward steps into what has long been regarded as the best women’s soccer, joining a team that boasts of Nigerian striker and six-time African Female Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala.

Her remarkable ascent for goal, and explosive talent convinced Bay FC to splash a whopping $860,000 to prise her away from Madrid CFF in the Spanish La Liga F.

“We are delighted to add Racheal to our group,” said Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton.

“She is a tremendous talent with dynamic attacking qualities and an incredible physical profile who has produced for both club and country.

Rachael has composure in front of goal and a natural ability to score with different types of finishes and from various locations. We believe she will continue to grow and develop at our club, showcasing her skillset and adding to the array of exciting attacking talent we have here.”

That fee surpasses the transfer fee set by Keira Walsh’s £400,000 switch from Manchester City to Barcelona in 2022.

Kundananji is moving to the United States after a prolific 18-month spell in Madrid in which she scored 33 Liga F goals in 43 games.

“People in Zambia will be surprised but they will be so happy,” Kundananji told BBC Sport Africa.

“A lot of people have encouraged me to work hard and some even said one day you’ll break some records.

“This is the first one and I know there are more coming. I will do my level best and fight every time I play like I always do.

“I want to give the [Bay FC] fans what they want – to enjoy the games, to enjoy seeing me playing and scoring.”

A part of the club since the summer of 2022 when she left relegated Eibar, Kundananji became one of the stars of La Liga F last season, scoring 25 goals in 29 games played, as well as contributing 3 assists.

In August 2022, Kundananji signed with Madrid CFF, scoring 25 goals during her first season with the club in the 2022/23 campaign. Her 25 goals ranked second-most in the league as she helped Madrid to a fifth-place finish.

During the 2023/24 season, Kundananji scored eight goals, and four assists in 14 matches.

Bay FC Director of Scouting & Strategy, Austin Buchanan, who tracked Racheal Kundananji’s progress for many years said:

“This is the culmination of a lot of work behind the scenes. Due to the club and ownership group’s continued support and drive to raise the bar across women’s sports, we bought a true young talent like Racheal Kundananji to the league. After what has been over a year’s worth of work seen come to fruition, I cannot wait to welcome Racheal to Bay FC and the NWSL.”