Zambia: It is yet another opportunity to converse about all matters of football with the esteemed football family. This week is extra special coming off the season closing matches that saw Power Dynamos and Trident crowned champions of the MTN Super League and FAZ National Division One leagues, respectively.
It was such an electric atmosphere at Nkoloma Stadium on Saturday as outgoing champions Red Arrows handed over the crown to Power Dynamos, whose last title was in 2011.
With Power Dynamos flying our flag in the CAF Champions League, FAZ all must rally behind them alongside MUZA, who will be campaigning in the Confederation Cup. While they grieve about the reduced slots in continental championships, they can, however, reclaim the slots through good performances of the envoys.
According to FAZ, “We have no doubt that the two envoys will be up to the task of representing. We have extended the gesture to them of seeking the expertise of Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant and his team of experts should they require it. Ultimately, this is something that can only be availed if required.”
Furthermore, FAZ stated, “There are a lot of lessons from the 2022/23 season, with clubs expected to do better in the next campaign. We expect that matters of crowd control and other safety measures will be amplified in the next season. Teams should invest more in upgrading their infrastructure to meet club licensing criteria.”
There is a great risk of the two continental envoys playing their matches outside the country if the stadia earmarked to host their matches are not worked on. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has already banned National Heroes Stadium from hosting international matches, while Levy Mwanawasa Stadium will have to be worked on after hosting the June 17 Africa Cup of Nations match between Zambia and Ivory Coast.
CAF has provided a checklist of what needs to be worked on to revamp the infrastructure with the turfs at the two stadia top of the list. Although they do not own these facilities, we will engage the authorities to ensure that a national solution is found.
Away from the league activities, the Chipolopolo regrouped today in Lusaka before proceeding for a weeklong international camp in South Africa to prepare for the June 17 Africa Cup of Nations clash with Ivory Coast.
Fortunately, most of the foreign-based players have concluded their leagues and are in the country in good time to commence the camp with the rest of the squad. As always, the administration has kept the tradition of giving the squad quality preparations ahead of any international assignment.
FAZ’s appeal is to the general citizenry to turn up in numbers at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola and give the team an extra push in their quest for AFCON qualification. Tickets have already gone on sale across Shoprite outlets, with early birds getting a K20 bargain.
We cannot imagine anything deserving more support than investing all efforts to ensure that the Chipolopolo, which is the nation’s flagship team gets maximum support. There is no doubt that with everyone’s support, the Chipolopolo will deliver to the expectations of everyone, said FAZ.
Finally, the Copper Queens FIFA World Cup preparations program enters the final phase with the team regrouping in Lusaka. They have organized a send-off match at National Heroes Stadium on June 11 before they trek to Germany for an international camp. The Copper Queens will play Tanzania at home before flying out.
On June 22, they will face Ireland in Dublin before playing Switzerland on June 30 in Zurich. They will conclude their European camp with a game against Germany in Furth on July 7.
All the teams they will play in Europe will be world cup participants. For the record, Zambia is in Group C alongside Spain, Japan and Costa Rica. We have no doubt the Copper Queens will be one of the surprise packages of the tournament.