Time for Chipolopolo to Turn a Corner
A very hearty welcome to this weekend’s football discourse my brethren. Few weekends come as fulfilling as the one we have just completed in a football sense. So often, we are reminded of the adage that the future is female. In football, we are giving life to that belief, with our efforts to take women football to the next level.
The launch of the FAZ National Women’s League is a milestone in our football. For years this has been a cry of many stakeholders in our game. It had only been lip-service until we decided to not only take the first step but walk the whole nine yards. On Saturday, we had Week One fixtures played across the country to kick-start a season long journey. It was indeed gratifying to see our ladies take to the field and showcase their skill. The teams also demonstrated that they had not only be crying in vain but already mastered the art to be competitive. We are heartened that even without a women’s league before, we were able to score some notable successes like the historic Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification. Our exports into foreign leagues have grown in the last few months with more expected to be spotted in the coming months. We are hopeful that some sponsors will not take long to come on board and tap into the immense opportunities that women football offers. A great salute to the men and women that have worked to make this a reality. My executive committee will strive to keep working towards making our women’s league among the best on the continent and beyond.
Away from the women, we have an important assignment this week at National Heroes Stadium where the Chipolopolo host Algeria in a Group H Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Our standing in that group is not pleasing but with victories over Algeria and Zimbabwe we can finish among the top two qualifiers for the AFCON. We have pulled all the stops to ensure that we give the team a conducive preparatory environment even under the Covid-19 strained environment. While the planned international friendly match against Sierra Leone did not materialize, we are conscious that it was always going to be hard to play international friendly matches in this Covid-19 restricted environment. The coach has also had to wait upon foreign based players whose availability is tied to contractual and FIFA regulations.
My executive committee has drawn on our positive engagements with the clubs where our players are based to secure their release for international duty. It can never be easy under the circumstances, but we have managed to secure all the players that the coach needed to the Algeria and Zimbabwe assignments. We can only call upon the fans to support the team even from their living rooms as no fans will be allowed in the stadium. CAF has maintained the ban on fans’ entry to stadia therefore leaving us to abide by their directive. However, the game will be beamed live on ZNBC Television providing an opportunity for fans to follow their team. we are also grateful to government through our patron President Edgar Lungu for their support towards the team in these two important assignments. Through our collaborative efforts with government, we shall ensure that the team’s remuneration for qualifying is honoured as always.
We wish the team the best of luck in the two assignments.
Have a fruitful week and stay safe!