PRESIDENT’S CORNER: Bridging the Gap between Women and Men’s Football
Football greetings to you all for this week as we continue to share notes on developments in our game. With the Covid-19 third wave wreaking havoc everywhere, we must ensure that we step up in our observance of the guidelines.
On the football front, we have been engaging Super and National Division clubs on Club Licensing requirements. FIFA and CAF have stepped up club licensing requirements and tightened the screws on implementation which could make it harder for non-complaint members to participate in international competitions. We engaged our members with two meetings in Lusaka and Ndola that captured all the clubs in the Super League.
In the last season, our participating clubs in CAF competitions barely scrapped through in terms of compliance and cannot be expected to get away for the 2021/22 season. We are conscious of the challenges posed by full implementation and hope that clubs will be bold enough to take steps to be fully complaint. We expect that on basic requirements hinged on youth football development, administration, and infrastructure development clubs will move swiftly.
Infrastructure remains a key handicap for many clubs, but we hope that we can begin to address this challenge. That is why our FIFA infrastructure program that is set to have stadia rehabilitated in five provinces first is critical. With the documentation from the Attorney General’s office being worked on to give us the 20-year requisite leases the stadia rehabilitation will commence in Mansa (Kaole), Kasama (Kasama Sports Stadium), Chipata (David Kaunda Stadium), Solwezi (Independence) and Livingstone (Maramba Stadium).
Away from administration, the Copper Queens will be in England to play Great Britain in a historic international friendly match at Stoke City Stadium on July 1. We swore to give the team high level preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (to be played in 2021) and have steadily kept on that path.
So far, they have played Chile in Santiago, South Africa and were scheduled to participate in an eight-nation tournament in Turkey before the Covid-19 knocked them out. We have kept them in residential camp for two months to ensure that they remain focused on the job.
We have done the same for the Chipolopolo who have just concluded a three-match international window assignment taking them to Senegal, Benin, and Sudan. Our expectation is that the players and the technical benches for both the men and women’s teams will reciprocate this support with good results.
The Chipolopolo are preparing for the September round of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers while the Copper Queens are preparing for the Olympics which kick off next month. We are doing everything possible to bridge the gap between support for men and women football in our country. We can only wish our teams all the best in their preparations.
Have productive week and remember to keep safe!