Emphasis on pitch maintenance
(LIVINGSTONE)–“As long as Caf and Fifa allow matches on potato fields, it should not be a surprise that African football is struggling,” Togo coach Claude LeRoy told French website Actufoot according to the BBC Africa.
“Unfortunately, we are more concerned with presidential chairs in the (VIP) boxes than we are with the surfaces.”
Leroy uttered these remarks in support of striker Emmanuel Adebayor’s refusal to play their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying against The Gambia in Lome, citing poor state of the artificial playing surface. He did not travel for the return match either
In Zambia, reports on social media indicates that the country’s next league season will commence in January, unlike the traditional April to November calendar. The reports have been greeted with resistance by a large swathe of stakeholders, including members of the fourth estate.
This follows the Confederation of African Football (CAF) changes to their club championship’s calendar which will now be commencing from August to May, and have recommend that members associations should as well change their calendars. It is imperative that Zambia should as well move in tandem with global trends.
However, there are fears that the league could be faced with disturbances by waterlogged playing surfaces due to the rainy season being on the peak. Cited, is not a much far distanced example of a fixture involving Lumwana Radiant and Kabwe Warriors which was rescheduled due to the pitch at Lumwana Ground getting waterlogged. Another example is the 2018 Samuel Zoom Ndlovu Charity Shield semifinal match between Zesco United and Napsa Stars which was abandoned with few minutes left to play due to a waterlogged pitch at Nkoloma Stadium.
With matches beamed live on Supersport, the broadcasting partners, many fear Zambia could be faced with shameful situations if the league calendar runs through the rainy season.
THE WRITER’S VIEWS
Such contestation indeed holds water. However instead of avoiding the rainy season at it’s peak, the author suggest that clubs begin to fix their pitches – particularly the water drainage systems.
If as a club in the country’s flagship league you cannot afford a proper drainage system around your pitch, surely it bats an eyelash; and you have no business in the topflight.
It’s high time clubs begins to engage companies to secure naming rights for their match venues. They should take a cue from a FAZ Division One side City of Lusaka who have a deal with communications giants Vodacom as “naming rights” holders. Through venue “naming rights” they can then generate funds for pitch maintenances.
Meanwhile it is the wish of the author that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) expedite making a decision as to when the 2019 MTN Super league shall commence, while time is suffice. The indecisiveness and lukewarm attitude by the local football governing body in making decisions is not helping. After all, It is said; “desperate times calls for desperate measures.”
Follow me on Twitter @SibelekiJames
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