FAZ clarify position on junior team participating in Cosafa tourney in Zimbabwe
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) have clarified their position on the junior team which is representing Zambia at the on going African Union Sports Commission (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Chairman for the committee on youth football Lee Kawanu speaking in an exclusive interview with Zambianfootball.co.zm stated that FAZ has not disowned any of their junior teams but had not approved the list of players who are representing the country in Zimbabwe.
“We have not disowned any of our teams, but you will note that some of the players on that list are not the players we have been working with,” Kawanu said.
He stated that this tournament was part of the youth football road-map for FAZ for 2017 when Zambia will host the CAF junior championship and the country had missed an opportunity to continue with the development plan which had been instituted.
“We have both the U17 and U20 who will be going out for major tournaments in a few months and this would have been a good platform for the teams to engage in about six competitive games at this tournament if they went all the way to the final but we have a totally different team entered in the competition,” he added.
When queried about how a team was entered in the tournament without clearance from FAZ, he explained that one of their officials team manager Jere who has since been suspended submitted the list without consent.
“He picked players some of whom we don’t know. As FAZ, we have tried to engage both the government and the authorities hosting the tournament in Zimbabwe as far back as May but that has not yielded fruit”.
“The Association which has struggled for funds to prepare the junior teams has also been deprived of a chance to prepare the national teams for the upcoming Africa junior tournaments”.
“The tournament is for players born after 1997. Our plan was that the U17 would use this tournament to prepare for the Africa Cup while the U20 would have played in another tournament, but even if it was a mixture of the two teams or the B players, we would have been happy as this would have been the best use of the national resources especially that we have had a huge burden of preparing the teams for the tournaments, not in this case where we have players not in our pool being picked by a one individual,” Kawanu said.
When asked whether the technical bench could take this as an opportunity to unearth other players to feature for the U17 at the Niger finals in February, Kawanu said this was not the time to be conducting trials.
“This is too close to the youth Championship for us to be conducting trials for the U17 that we have been building since 2012. Look at our south African friends they have fielded their U17 in this tournament yet we have used it to prepare only four or five players who are part of our pool of 35 from the U17.”
Cosafa who have an agreement with the Zone 5 organizers had invited the U17 mens team and U20 women’s team to the tournament. The Hector Chilombo coached men’s team yesterday trounced the South African U17 team 6 – 1.
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