Blog: FAZ good preps continue, Bullets to face Zebras
In keeping with promises to ensure all national teams are adequately prepared for major assignments, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has secured a preparatory friendly against Botswana slated for Nkoloma Stadium this Sunday
The nation is still mourning after Zambia failed to qualify to the 2019 Africa Cup.
However, the able leadership at FAZ under president Andrew Kamanga has continued to put in everything to ensure Zambia returns to the glory of 2012 and better.
The failure to qualify to Cameroun 2019 is not due to administrative lapses at FAZ.
Look, the game against Botswana is one way the current FAZ has shown leadership in preparing the national teams for duty.
This match is coming before this country hosts the Under-20 COSAFA Championship on the Copperbelt starting on December 2.
This is the third tournament this country is proudly hosting since Andrew Kamanga took over FAZ on March 19, 2016.
The first was in March 2017.
It was the Under-20 Africa Cup tournament in Lusaka.
Zambia won the cup for the first time ever.
Bola Na Lesa would go on to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time ever.
Where those results achieved by day-dreaming?
Kamanga’s FAZ with the support of the government of His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the superb Minister of Sports Hon Moses Mawere facilitated the team’s camping in Spain.
Not once but twice.
This Under-20 side that plays the Young Zebras is the former Under-17 that won the COSAFA Under-17 championship last year in Mauritius.
Zambia had never before won this tournament.
Remember Kamanga using his own money for the team to fly to Mauritius?
When he was reimbursed, remember his enemies accusing him of corruption?
Government only funds the Chipolopolo and pays the Chipolopolo senior coach.
The rest FAZ funds unless when at times government bails out Football House like the CHAN tournament, just as an example.
That Under-17 side genuinely young as it was then played the Under-20 championship last year and faltered on the Copperbelt.
That was a foundation for this side that now includes England based Mwiya Malumo and 18-year-old former Bola Na Lesa star Edward Chilufya.
Leadership with foresight used the Under-17s and endured criticism last year. Watch them this year.
Back to Sven Vandenbroeck squad that lost to Mozambique embarrassingly.
At least 9 (nine ) Bola Na Mesa boys have worked with the under-fire Belgian.
These are Patson Daka, Prosper Chiluya, Shemmy Mayembe, Boyd Musonda, Solomon Sakala, Fashion Sakala, Emmmanuel Banda, Enock Mwepu and Mangani Banda.
Five (5) namely Fashion, Daka, Solomon, Mwepu and Emmanuel have featured.
Isn’t this a solid foundation for the future?
Watch the Bola na Lesa now Zambia Under-23s in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualfiers via the Under-23 Africa Cup.
Prior to Maputo, FAZ camped the team in South Africa and facilitated the arrival of all foreign players on time (if you think this is as easy as adding 1+1 and finding 3, then think, again, about the London Fiasco when FAZ failed to raise a team and featured Zambian students based in the UK who lost to Ghana).
FAZ facilitated the coach to spy on Mozambique v Namibia including facilities for camping in South Africa and Maputo.
What more could FAZ have done?
The allowances on offer were doubled.
But some players on the Zempito pitch were failing to pass, run, cross and so on.
Have we forgotten that before playing Guinea-Bissau, after we drew in Windhoek, FAZ facilitated a friendly within three days and beat Gabon 1-0 in Lebreville?
The Gabon coach was fired immediately because of losing to Vandenbroeck’s side.
At Heroes Stadium, Zambia beat Guinea-Bissau 2-1 and many fans said Chipolopolo played like Barcelona.
The women too have played Egypt, Kenya and Ghana in Zambia in friendly matches.
In fact, the Kenya friendly was played on the Copperbelt in heeding fans’ cry to see their teams in the region-and not just Lusaka.
Prior to Ghana, the Shepolopolo were supposed to camp in Nigeria. When the draws paired Zambia in the same group, FAZ swiftly secured Ivory Coast where our girls camped.
For the women national team no one shall quickly forget the sound leadership exhibited by Kamanga in securing the qualification to the ongoing 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON).
Remember Zambia losing 1-0 to Zimbabwe in the final round first at Nkoloma Stadium on a Wednesday.
Kamanga decided to fly the Shepolopolo to Harare.
“He is wasting tax payers money,” some fans cried, “those useless girls are already out!”
Well, Zimbabwe went back by road and found Zambia in Harare.
Result: Zimbabwe 1-2 Zambia FT.
The match was played on Sunday. You would think Harare was in prayer of silence.
Zambia singing and dancing to the finals being the only noise in Harare.
The FAZ funded flight was not only great motivation but saved the girls time on the tedious Chirundu border clearance and bus fatigue.
That is the wisdom of preparation that comes with the Kamanga executive.
Yes, the failure to qualify to Cameroon is painful but the foundations are there for future success.
The team that won the Africa Cup in 2006 had their back sides whipped since 2006 and saw three coaches dismissed or resigned in Patrick Phiri, Kalusha Bwalya and Dario Bonetti before achieving that success under Herve Renard.
Uganda has qualified yet Zambia has not. The Cranes have a consistent squad since 2013.
Remember Uganda missed out on qualification to the 2012 Africa Cup just by a penalty against then defending champions Zambia
Denis Onyango , their skipper and goalkeeper who keeps our skipper and goalkeeper Kennedy Mweeene on the Mamelodi Sundowns bench, played in that match.
The progression of Uganda and the regression of Zambia must be seen in that Onyango and Mweene battle at Sundowns.
One is living on current form, the other is living in past glory.
Much as we are very upset by the failure to qualify to Cameroon let us give support to the Young Bullets that face Young Zebras at the weekend.
We may hate Kamanga for whatever reason, but football has rules. The councillors shall determine the fate of his elected executive, if it decides not to step down, in 2020.
That is the mandate. That is how you deal with elected people.
FAZ and Kamanga must accept responsibility of failure to go to the Africa Cup and tell us how we are going to get out of this undesirable spot.
Qualification to the Africa Cup is like a birth right to us. So failure to miss two consecutive Africa Cups is very upsetting!
Meanwhile, I shall offer a few more KoPas during the Under-20 tournament.
As a Zambian am tired of hearing insults that we cannot even make a toothpick as a country.
I am patriotic enough to support a local innovation.
Yesu fwebene KoPa and we can improve upon it as proud Zambians.
Zambia should never just make headlines on failure and corruption.
Let us support things that can grow our Zambian economy so that our children can become lenders and not borrowers.
United we stand, divided we fall!
I hope I can be at Nkoloma Stadium this Sunday-although highly unlikely.
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