Zam­bian foot­ball is ready to shine

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSELEKU sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za

Two things that hap­pened last month have given Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Zam­bia (FAZ) pres­i­dent An­drew Ka­manga con­fi­dence that a solid foun­da­tion has been laid from which his coun­try’s foot­ball team can soar to dizzy heights.

Zam­bia was a dom­i­nat­ing force in south­ern African foot­ball, reach­ing the Africa Cup of Na­tions fi­nals in 1994 and an­nex­ing the ti­tle via a penalty shoot-out vic­tory over Ivory Coast in 2012. How­ever, these wins were spo­radic rather than con­sis­tent.

Now, Ka­manga, who is part of the bri­gade that is spear­head­ing change within the Coun­cil of South­ern Africa Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) that has spi­ralled over to CAF, be­lieves a firm foun­da­tion has been laid.

The foun­da­tion he is talk­ing about is the Zam­bian Un­der-20 na­tional team’s vic­tory at the Un­der-20 Africa Cup of Na­tions fi­nal on March 12, where they de­feated Sene­gal 2-0.

Later in the month, Ka­manga sur­vived a bid to have him im­peached at the FAZ an­nual congress. The re­sult was that he man­aged to put through a con­sti­tu­tional change that put his or­gan­i­sa­tion in line with world foot­ball gov­ern­ing body Fifa and CAF, the con­ti­nen­tal struc­ture.

“We are on solid ground,” Ka­manga told City Press.

“Not only did we host a suc­cess­ful CAF Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship, but our team emerged as cham­pi­ons and are off to the Fifa Un­der-20 World Cup in South Korea.” Ka­manga said this was a solid foun­da­tion from which to build a strong se­nior na­tional team. “There is new­found zest and we want to groom and pro­tect these young­sters so that they grad­u­ate to the se­nior na­tional team. We hope they can make the se­nior team, qual­ify for the next Africa Cup of Na­tions and even­tu­ally the World Cup at se­nior level.” The pres­i­dent said the team would have two camps prior to the World Cup, one in Europe and one in Ja­pan, where they will spend a week be­fore the tour­na­ment starts. “We will soon be launch­ing a new kit and hope to gen­er­ate a lot of rev­enue from the sales, which will help us reach our goal of fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence.” The for­mer player and club ad­min­is­tra­tor, who took over the reigns in March last year af­ter de­feat­ing Zam­bian icon Kalusha Bwalya, added that his re­cent vic­tory at the congress had al­lowed his or­gan­i­sa­tion to im­ple­ment changes that would make it a re­spected brand, and would hope­fully draw spon­sors. “At the congress, 309 mem­bers voted for the con­sti­tu­tional changes to be im­ple­mented, while there were only 11 against. As a re­sult, we have re­duced the elec­toral col­lege from 380 to 89, in line with Fifa and CAF statutes. We now have only 13 ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers, which will make manag­ing FAZ much eas­ier,” he said. “This has given us a proper plat­form to im­ple­ment proper gov­er­nance, ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency, which are cor­ner­stones of mod­ern foot­ball. We are now go­ing to launch FAZ of­fices in 10 dif­fer­ent cen­tres around the coun­try. “We wanted to build a struc­ture that would at­tract spon­sor­ship,” he said.

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

STAR Pat­son Daka of Zam­bia

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

MAIN MAN An­drew Ka­manga

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