Kamanga Opens Up on Safari Soccer Show
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga says his executive has opened the door for Zambian players outside the country that are willing to don the Chipolopolo jersey ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Featuring on Safari Soccer Show, hosted by Yvonne Eta on Monday afternoon, Kamanga says the final call on which player met the criterion lay with the Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic led technical bench.
The FAZ boss said the chase for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup lies in good preparations.
“We have got World Cup qualifiers coming, we have a program for identifying players in Europe who have links with the country to be part of the national team. We have already spoken to four or five of them so they will be coming for the camp which is coming up before we play our first game against Mauritania,” he says.
“Ultimately the decision in which players to call lies with the technical bench. We will facilitate the administrative side of the process.
Kamanga says the dip in the form of the Chipolopolo was a well-documented story that started in the aftermath of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations victory.
He also weighed on the debate on the renewed FAZ/MTN deal that is worth K43 Million that will see the telecommunication giant part with K14 million every year.
Clubs will be entitled to K400, 000 which is a huge leap from the K7, 000 pocketed a few years ago.
“We are even fortunate that MTN were even able to sign up and support our Super League with the new sponsorship package even though others have condemned it that in dollar terms it is less. The truth of the matter is everyone is struggling,” he says.
“MTN had the option of walking away but they have given us something which is still worth. The same teams in the Super League will get a 100 percent increase even if the value is the same but the value to the membership has doubled.”
Kamanga says his executive had a multi-pronged approach to game management with the de-linking of the sponsored league firmly in motion.
“We are quite keen on investing in the Super League and hopefully we can divorce it from FAZ and allow the league to run independently if it is able to support itself. Our focus is now to look at the development side of the game to equally invest in provincial leagues. We want to strike a balance between the sponsored league and development league,” he says.
“We have introduced a women Super League; we hope that at one point we can get sponsorship for it and put it on TV.”
Kamanga says the Tokyo 2020 Olympics bound Copper Queens will be given enough quality preparations ahead of the games.
He also shared his turbulent journey toward the FAZ presidency.
“My recollection from 2009 is that we did have a few challenges with the FA at the time. There were issues which we were not happy as clubs. Obviously if you read the constitution, the executive committee is accountable to the FAZ council, which is a collection of all the membership. We felt that the executive was not serving the interest of the football family,” he reminisces.
“We had two things happening, we had some members of the executive resigning creating a constitutional crisis and on the other side we were not happy with issues of transparency and accountability. For instance, we did not know how much FAZ was getting from the sponsors whether SuperSport or MTN. Everything seemed to have been in a black box and whoever attempted to ask was labelled anti-establishment. We got to a point whereas members we felt that we had been pushed against the wall and needed to push back.”
Kamanga adds: “There was now a divide between the executive and a group which was championing for change and that culminated in a meeting with FIFA in 2010 December. At that meeting FIFA recognized the executive and said that if you have any issues, you may as well table a vote of no confidence at the AGM due in three months. Sadly, all efforts to have that process fell through and the vote of no confidence was not tabled and withdrawn at the last minute. Of course, us who were pushing felt that we needed to create our own league, so there was always that divide.”
After the botched vote of no confidence. Kamanga took a backseat and only heeded a members’ call to contest the 2016 elections that he won.
Kamanga says his executive’s passion for grassroots and women football is on course to revive the glory days with some results already showing.
The under-20 won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017 and reached a historic quarterfinal at the FIFA World Cup while the women have qualified to the Olympics for the first time.