Well Done ABSA, SuperSport!
A great welcome to this week’s column my dear football family. This week comes on the back of an exciting football weekend in the 2021 ABSA Cup. True to its mantra of ‘Africanicity’ the games delivered everything good about football with some underdogs felling giants while some traditional powerhouses fulfilled the preordained scripts. Ultimately, we have our four winners that sets up an exciting semi-final showdown on April 17 in Kitwe. The semifinal fixtures has Zesco United taking on Konkola Blades while Zanaco will battle with Lusaka Dynamos. As administrators we are happy to revert to only football discourse. The limelight should fall on the footballers and coaches who are the lifeblood of the beautiful game.
We must give credit to ABSA Bank for staying supportive to the game even under the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic. We take our hats off to them. Fifteen years of sustained sponsorship is no mean feat. We also wish to salute our fans that have respected the call to stay off stadia considering the ban by the Ministry of Health. We understand the appetite to watch football from stadia is huge, but the Covid-19 pandemic remains a sticky issue. We continue to engage the authorities in the background on the possibilities of returning fans to stadia given the notable reduction in the Covid-19 cases. We have never stopped tracking the cases and engaging the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth Sport and Child Development. On the Chipolopolo side of business, we have the March 25 Group H Africa Cup of Nations fixture against Algeria at National Heroes Stadium which would be good to be played before some fans. It is our prayer that we may be allowed a limited number of fans to attend this match and spur our team to a crucial victory.
The technical bench led by Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has been working hard to ensure the team is ready for the assignments against Algeria and Zimbabwe. the local players are already working while foreign based players will start trickling in next week. We have engaged the clubs where our players ply their trade to ensure that even with the Covid-19 barriers they should be able to allow our players to feature for their country.
Finally, the under-17 team is back home after an aborted Total U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco. We are disappointed that the tournament was cancelled but we hope that our proposal to host the tournament will be given a look in by CAF. We will update the nation once the matter has been decided upon. The Copper Queens Olympic preparations are expected to resume in the next few days according to the program submitted by the technical bench. We remain committed to helping the team be adequately prepared for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (to be played in 2021). Domestically the local women’s league has commenced with various provinces already beyond Week Three.
Let me end by congratulating the winners of the 2021 ABSA Cup quarterfinals. Well done and good luck in the semi-finals.
Have fruitful week and remember to stay safe!