Kamanga Apologises for AFCON Failure
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga has apologized to the nation for Zambia’s failure to qualify to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
And Kamanga says it is not true that FIFA has cut funding to FAZ as the information could have been publicly communicated as per FIFA tradition.
Featuring on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Kamanga said he was disappointed that the Chipolopolo failed to defeat Mozambique despite being given the best possible preparations that included doubled allowances.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the government, the soccer fans and the nation at large that the performance has not been what we expected especially that we put in everything that we thought was adequate to get the team to qualify,” Kamanga said.
“We are essentially going through what one would call a very difficult moment. But football being what it is has got three pillars, you have got the administrators, the coaching (technical side) and the players which is basically the three major elements. Outside that you have got the soccer fans, if you look at the soccer fans they have been there through and through.”
The FAZ President said the display in Maputo by the Chipolopolo was one of the worst put up by any team in Zambian colours.
‘…From the outset our target was to win that game, unfortunately the team did not rise to the occasion, we put in all the preparations from the administration side, we incentivised the team, we doubled their allowances for the last two games being the Mozambique and Namibia game but at the end of the day we expected the players to do their part, but the game was one of the worst performances we have seen for the national team because we were playing as though we had already won the game. But again this is where the players have to take responsibility and fight.”
Kamanga paid tribute to the fans for having supported the team’s cause but were let down by the performance on the pitch.
The FAZ chief also hailed government for having supported the team’s Africa Cup campaign through the patron President Edgar Lungu.
Kamanga appealed to the football family to turnaround the failure of qualification into a progressive step with eyes on 2020 Olympic qualification and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Why should we not use this failure to take us forward? This failure is so fundamental that it is going to be the game changer going forward,” he said.
“One of the things we need to accept is that we are competing internationally for the same coaches. If we want to get a high grade coach we need not less than $100, 000 per month. The energy that we are expending now as a result of this failure, we can turn it into a positive so that we can now win the AFCON and qualify to the World Cup.”
He cited support for the home grown KoPa kit that could reap the association at least $10 million if supported.
“On this replica if we have a margin of $10 just for us to raise $10 million, we just need to sell one million shirts. Are we as Zambians prepared to support this cause which will give us the $10 million, which will allow us to bring in a high grade coach who is going to win us the Africa Cup and qualify us to the World Cup? These are practical steps we now have to start taking. If we present a $10 million budget to the government we are being unreasonable and the corporate world,” he said.
Kamanga said that it was difficult to shop for a top grade coach given the budgetary constraints.
He also said that FAZ would notify the public on the way forward over Chipolopolo coach Sven Vandenbroeck who was recruited with a five-game mandate to qualify Zambia to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The FAZ President poured cold water on claims that FIFA had frozen funding to Football House on account of lack of accountability.
“There is no funding which has been cut by FIFA. The truth of the matter is that FIFA gives all federations $1.2 Million of which $750, 000 is for projects and $500, 000 is what we use for operations. In the last three years we have not drawn the $750, 000 for projects because we were still finishing up the school of excellence in Luanshya which was only completed this year,” he said.
“As far as the project funding is concerned, we still have the $2.2 million which is readily available. The $500, 000 which has been available was given to us in 2016.”
He added: “What happened is that we were given the $250, 000 in January for the first six months and then in second quarter we were supposed to submit the audit and unfortunately that is the time when instead of focusing on preparing the audit, our accounts staff were busy leaking the famous documents as a consequence they missed the timing for the audit which was eventually done. So they are now giving us the monthly payments for $50, 000 so far we have received three payments. I think there is only November and December being awaited. From that perspective there is no money which has been withheld by FIFA.”
Kamanga said that strides had been made in the management of the game with a sponsorship deal unveiled for Division One while the Under-20 was fully sponsored by FNB.
He also cited the re-negotiated MTN sponsorship deal that upped the entitlement of teams from a measly K7, 000 to K200, 000.
“We have been able to secure a number of sponsorships, the U20 for the first time is sponsored by FNB, and we have just secured a sponsorship deal for Division One which we hope will be on national television. We have also done very well for the Super League teams. We have been able to re-negotiate the deal for the sponsorship and clubs who were getting k7, 000 are now getting K200, 000,” he said.
Kamanga gave insight on the visit of bailiffs to Football House over some claims with the most notable being the former General Secretary George Kasengele.
“We had our former General Secretary (Kasengele) who at the point of leaving put in a claim of K2 million as his terminal benefits and gratuity. When we went to the files, we found that we did not have the original contracts so the basis of that claim was being made was questioned,” he said.
“What we then did was that we were able to work out what we believed is the correct amount which has since been paid to him. He is the one who was sending the bailiffs but we have taken steps because we believe that the contract was not the correct contract. We have since taken the matter with the law enforcement.”
On the U20 Africa Cup service providers Kamanga said, “We had the U20 tournament which was funded by government. Some of the service providers were finding it easier to get their payments by drawing FAZ into the argument because at the end of the day it is impossible to sue government but a lot easier to use FAZ and you get your bailiffs in there.”
The FAZ boss appealed to Zambians to rally behind the association to ensure that the long term plans for the game are realised.
FAZ has taken a lot of stick in aftermath of Zambia’s failure to qualify to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.