Zambia: Football Association of Zambia welcomes their week’s column. They initiated the column by appreciating Chipolopolo freshly, where they retained the Cosafa crown.
FAZ mentioned, “It is such a great milestone for the Chipolopolo to have lifted the Cosafa for the seventh time to become the record winners of the 26-year-old regional crown. Zambia broke away from Zimbabwe, who have won it six times, while South Africa are five-time champions.”
For the record, Zambia was the champion in 1997, 1998, 2006, 2013, 2019, 2022 and 2023. They are allowed as a country to take a moment and enjoy some measure of bragging rights as regional champions; however, they will keep sight of the Cosafa as an opportunity to expose and grow talent.
The FAZ technical bench handed over half the team a debut national appearance through the Cosafa.
The bigger picture for FAZ was to allow the top performers of our under-23 national team and outstanding league players to test themselves on a regional platform. They were also using this platform to afford some of the best promising local coaches an opportunity to hone their coaching skills on the international stage.
Further, FAZ said, “We had national team assistant coach Moses Sichone assisted by Numba Mumamba, Mwenya Chipepo, Masautso Tembo and Davies Phiri on this assignment, which showed confidence in our local resource as they continue to build their coaching credentials.”
Naturally, Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant was working in the background with the technical bench to ensure alignment with the long-term national team vision for Zambia national teams. The next assignment for the local Chipolopolo guns is the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers in a fortnight. Cosafa has been such a huge platform to prepare for the CHAN assignment at the month-end.
On the women’s side of business, the Copper Queens have settled in Hamilton ahead of this Saturday’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Group C opener against Japan at Waikato Stadium.
“Our top-level preparatory program has seen our team play five world cup bound teams: Colombia, South Korea, Ireland, Switzerland, and Germany. FAZ said the team camped in Germany for a month as part of our commitment to giving them maximum levels of preparedness.”
“With the team having arrived in Hamilton, where the Zambian community in Australia/New Zealand have given them a warm welcome, we are now focussed on the first match on Saturday. On the fringes of the pre-tournament activities, we have had to deal with an injury case to one of the key players of our squad.”
“We are lucky that the tournament regulations provide for what should be done under such circumstances. A perusal through Article 26.3 of tournament regulations provides some guidance on what should happen when a player is injured before the commencement of the tournament.”
“Players listed on the list may only be replaced in the event of serious injury or illness up until 24 hours before the start of their team’s first match. The replacement players do not need to be limited to the release list. The participating team shall nominate the replacement players, who shall inform FIFA accordingly (including all the specific player information and a copy of their passport). Upon receipt and acceptance of a written detailed medical assessment in one of the official languages of FIFA, FIFA Medical, represented by the FIFA General Medical Officer, will ascertain whether the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. The replacement player shall be assigned the shirt number of the injured or ill player being replaced…”
Further, Article 26.4 states, “The final list of 23 players (three of whom shall be goalkeepers) and up to 22 officials shall constitute the official team delegation list.”
The decisions made have been in consultation with the medical and technical staff. Fortunately, they now have a rounded technical bench where different expertise has been incorporated to ensure a fully professional set-up.
They have had to rely on expert advice and tournament regulations to arrive at their decisions. FAZ’s plea is to everyone to rally behind the team in their quest to fly our flag on the global stage.
They have done everything possible administratively to prepare the team for the huge assignment ahead and have no doubt they will reciprocate with top performances at the world cup. Let us give the team all the necessary support.