Sunday, July 14, 2024

FAZ, FIFA bashing Akin

  • This article was originally published on 25th March 2018 on this publication.

“FIFA bashing has become a national sport in some countries,” said a devastated FIFA president Gianni Infantino when addressing the congress in Bahrain, on 11 May 2017. According to the Guardian Newspaper UK, the FIFA president made this combative speech after receiving a lot of backlash, following the dismissal of the global football governing body’s Ethics Committee Chairmen Hans-Joachim Echert and Cornel Borbély.

Last week, Tariq Panja of the New York Times, a renowned critic of the FIFA president, wrote a piece casting aspersions on plans to launch an annual FIFA branded women’s league, as merely an effort to boost Infantino’s bid for re-election next year – in the run-up to the Council meeting held last Friday in Bogotá Colombia

Clearly, FIFA’s attempt to reform an organization that once was in beset with corruption scandals has seen the perversion of the coverage and is being overshadowed by criticism.

And, If there is someone who can relate is Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga. For reasons most of us can comprehend, there is much ado, trials from the Court of public opinions vis-a-vis the administering of football in this country. FAZ bashing is certainly becoming a national sport, sometimes aptly, whereas as mostly just social media bed-watters, whose blood gets boiled by the stride ticked.

Admittedly, the Kamanga led FAZ has bungled, with for example, defaults from the courtroom – and they have the maddening knack to be mum about it – but even the most honorable deeds encounters a horde of critics. We have hawks faulting even the raise of the FAZ and MTN Super League partnership, as well as the vaunted four-nations tournament currently being held in the country.

We have those who have the maddening knack to say with non-committal that the recent MTN sponsorship contract puts Zambia’s top-flight in tandem with the elites and amongst the well sponsored leagues in Africa. Then, those who are myopic to intertwine or credit the league sponsorship raise to the Supersport broadcasting dummy of a deal, which apparently also begs for a raise.

And they want to make an alliance with moralists, saying that the US$50, 000 pegged as prize money for the winners of the top tier is meagre. Save us the double standards please. Where were you when Zesco United, Zanaco, Nkana, and the Super League Champions in the past used to take home US$25, 000?

Looking back at where we are coming from, the deal is good – but going forward, there is room for improvements. You also have to eulogize the fact that the recent deal gives room to other sponsors, to be incorporated. Somehow similar to the CAF and Total deal – where the latter is the headline sponsor – with the telecom giants Orange still on board.

Frankly, being obsequious isn’t my cup of tea. When leaders bungles we utter nothing but the truth, without caring whether stirring the hornet’s nest or not; and when something is accomplished we eulogize.

You can underline this statement, some of the bashing aimed at Football house is imperative. And only the wise shall take it as constructive criticism.

The question constantly sweeping my mind, is why so much frenzy against FAZ, ironically from the same people who previously fought in their corner. The same online publication ‘Zambia reports’ that 24/7 dragged the Kalusha Bwalya executive into the mud, is today fabricating unsubstantiated claims against the Andrew Kamanga led FAZ.

Could it be that our local football mother-body has abruptly made so many enemies than allies? To be honesty, this tension can only drive our football to Orwellian. If there is some way to make a truce, that would be something I can rubber-stump.

Part of the reason for the bashing bedevilling Football house is the inept to settle outstanding payments. This was seen on Wednesday when bailiffs confiscated items belonging to the Football Association of Zambia. I tell you, heads descended. To some people it was euphoric time – akin to dancing on a tomb of the deceased, which is Un-african.

According to reports the reason why the items were confiscated by bailiffs is that FAZ has not settled the outstanding payments to some Copperbelt travel and tour agency for the services it rendered during the U-20 AFCON, last year. Efforts for clarity, once again drew blanks.

I really do not want to sound defensive, but frankly we all know hosting the AFCON is a collective responsibility for the government and the federation. In fact, without the consent of the government it is impossible to stage any major tournament.

So where do we place the government in this puzzle? Whose responsibility really is it to pay the mascots and the other volunteers who have been lamenting for the past one-year?

The outgoing CAF media director Junior Binyam has this to say. Bear in mind the quotes as the except from the already published story on ZamFoot.

“Most of the costs including TV production are to be borne by the host countries. So except afcon were important sales are done, for the rest of the competitions it may happen that there is nothing to share.

“But it can happen that those 20% ends up being the TV production cost that is to be borne by the host country. So they won’t receive anything in that case. As a matter of principle the 20% paid of the gross sales paid to host association for afcon are also paid for U20, U17 and the rest.”

Clearly, for the junior AFCON like the U-20 Zambia hosted, the African football supreme body CAF gets 80% of the money that is made from the TV rights sells, whereas the hosting nation takes home 20%. Binyam adds, “But it can happen that the 20% end up being TV production cost that is to be borne by the hosting nation. So they won’t receive anything in that case.” Now, this where you need government’s support.

In conclusion, generally leaders abruptly fall out of favour because sometimes their manifesto is a wholesome of to-go-good to be true pledges. Promises such as qualifying to the FIFA World Cup. Failure to meet the expectations, what follows after is the story for another day.

For now, all the best to the Chipolopolo boys as they tussle with our tradition wives Bafana Bafana, for that beautiful Four-nations tournament trophy, today. I have faith, we shall recoil South Africa to their rightful place; and that place is beneath us.

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