SUN SPORTS writes
ZAMBIA now has a foundation strong enough to sustain its football fortunes says Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga.
Speaking at an interactive session with the media recently, Kamanga outlined the 10-year strategy being implemented by his executive and insisted that the development of age group football would restore Zambia’s football glory.
He also disclosed that world soccer governing body, FIFA, had written to FAZ with a 10-day ultimatum to resolve disputes out of the ordinary courts of law or face sanctions.
In a letter dated 30 June 2020, FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer Veron Mosengo-Omba stated that should the situation not be normalized within the next 10 days, FIFA will be compelled to invoke sanctions against Zambia.
The 10-day ultimatum starts on July 1, 2020.
“I must report here, that this is a consequence of these court cases, FIFA has written to us as giving us 10 days in which to normalize the election process and be compliant because for the last three and half months, we have been in breach of the FIFA statutes by having matters in court,” Kamanga said.
“So if we do not have these cases out of court in the next 10 days, we are going to be sanctioned by FIFA. Hopefully we can go past the 10 days, normalize then we can have the elections.”
Damiano FC manager Damiano Mutale and Patson Lusaka sued FAZ in an attempt to stop the FAZ elections, a case which was referred to the Constitutional Court.
And expelled FAZ vice president Richard Kazala, sued Kamanga and his general secretary Adrian Kashala for contempt of court.
Kamanga said the Ministry of Sports and National Sports Council of Zambia have been informed of FIFA’s correspondence.
Meanwhile, Kamanga has insisted that Zambian football is on firm ground and headed for success following the implementation of the 10-year strategic plan.
Kamanga told journalists that the FAZ executive had opted for a strategic approach to develop the game to avoid mistakes that had seen Zambia lose out on continental dominance.
“The reason why I am sharing this is to show you that football develops in cycles and not at a point in time. So when we came (into office) in 2016, the first thing we realized was that if we were going to rebuild our senior national team, we needed to invest in the junior teams otherwise there was no way out and the first task was going to the COSAFA Under-17 in Mauritius where we were disqualified for age cheating and that was the first blow we suffered,” he recalled.
“We took steps to address that because as you would expect, from each bad situation there is always an opportunity and we saw one in re-developing a new Under-17 team mostly made up of young players averaging 15 years and below. In December 2017, we won the Cup for the first time and we hosted the Under-20 Africa Cup which also won and later set a new record of reaching the quarter-finals at the World Cup in 2017,” he said.
“This was the case for the women’s teams in which the senior squad and Under-20 team lost in the finals while the Under-17 came out third and as you are aware, the senior team went on to qualify to the Olympic Games after defeating Cameroon over two legs and so if you look at that background, it just shows you that everything we have been doing has been working save for the senior (men’s) national team and we are confident that going forward, we have assembled very strong teams which will take us forward.”
He notes that with the recruitment of Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, Chipolopolo would benefit from long term talent development.
“We want to get to the point where we say that in the next 10 years, we should have an opportunity to go to five Africa Cups and three World Cups because we think that we will be ready and the structures that we have put in means that we have to start working backwards from the Under-15s, Under-13s and Under-11s so that ultimately, the production of players will be continuous.”
“We have never been to the World Cup so we should also raise our standards by targeting a World Cup spot and in the next 10 years we have an opportunity to qualify to two World Cups.”
The FAZ President has said the introduction of Provincial Cups will further enhance football development while promoting local talent to feed into clubs.