Thursday, July 25, 2024

FAZ said no! Match to mark AFCON glory was refused says Noah Chivuta

Football House allegedly turned down a request from 2012 AfCON winning players to have a match held in their honour during the 10th anniversary of Chipolopolo’s winning of the Cup of Nations reports Mathews Kabamba of Zambia Daily Mail.

Last Saturday marked exactly 10 years since Zambia won its first ever Africa Cup of Nations title but the day passed quietly with no official event to mark the milestone that was achieved when Chipolopolo defeated Ivory Coast.

While the narrative has been about unfulfilled pladges that were made to the players by Government, Football House and some corporate bodies, it has also emarged that Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) turned down a request for an event to mark the day.

Former Chipolopolo midfielder Noah Chivuta said in an interview yesterday that FAZ cited COVID – 19 for turning down the request from the players.

Noah Chivuta and James Chamanga were some of the senior players in the team

“We started last month trying to engage many stakeholders like FAZ to organize us a game so that we come together we celebrate at some events but we were told they cannot arrange a game for us because there is COVID,” Chivuta said.

Chivuta said the players were however taken aback to see FAZ organise an international friendly match between the Women’s national team and South Africa.

On Saturday, Shepolopolo beat Banyana Banyana 3-0 following a Babra Banda and a goal from Avell Chitundu in an international friendly.

Zambian top tabloid carried the story on their back page of the Friday edition

“What hurt us most is to see Shepolopolo play on the same day. Where is COVID now? And who arranged that game? it is the same association who answered us that they cannot arrange a game or an event because of COVID so it felt like they don’t care,” he said.

Chivuta said there was nothing wrong with Shepolopolo playing as they had a critical game to prepare for but things could have been handled better.

“If they knew that they had arranged as Shepolopolo game, they could have merged the events but not cancelling us completely and saying there I COVID and yet have another event which was not wrong beuase they have game which is good,” he said.

He said 10 years is a milestone which must be celebrated.

“10 years is a milestone, even in Marriage people celebrate these things,” he said.
However, FAZ spokesperson Sydney Mungala said in a separate interview that the Association has not downplayed the milestone.

“You have to appreciate that there are different stakeholders to hold such an event, there is Government, the national team sponsors [MTN]. Even the time we won the AfCON MTN was sponsoring the team.

Zambia team members celebrate after beating Ghana 1-0 in The Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match at Bata stadium in Bata on February 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP via Getty Images)

“So, it cannot be held only at a time the suits one stakeholder. The commemoration idea was announced last year and we have been running with that idea up to this time,” Mungala said.

He said MTN as the main sponsors of the national team have been incorporated to spearhead the idea.

“That is why we announced that we are going to hold the commemoration side by side with the MTN awards,” he said.

[Zambia Daily Mail]

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