PRESIDENT’S CORNER: Chipolopolo Roar Back to Life
We are back this week talking everything Chipolopolo. The Chipolopolo are back in camp for preparations for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers that commence on September 1, 2021. We are happy that Beston Chambeshi and his technical staff have gotten down to work. We have extended a traditional Zambian welcome to our brothers from Croatia, Serbia, and Slovakia led by Technical Advisor Aljosa Asanovic as they beef up our technical bench to ensure that our approach to the game is rounded. Naturally, we have also blended in some of our local experts to ensure that we have a solid team to lead us into the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. It was good to get to watch the assembled squad in training over the weekend and the expectation is that the positive energy will replicate itself in match situations. On the administration side of business, we have also activated the preparatory process that will see the Chipolopolo get an international camp either in Morocco or Croatia. We are drawing on the Memoranda of Understanding we share with these countries to ease logistical challenges in this Covid-19 laden environment. The international camp will help the team prepare better away from possible distractions at home and hopefully play an international game or two. We are mindful of the limitations that any fixtures outside the FIFA window presents but we will work out a flexible plan for the team. We expect that the technical bench will scour the nation and globe for our best performing players to feature in World Cup qualifiers. A good start in the qualifiers will be good for our country as the World Cup remains the lingering blemish on the Zambian game.
Back at home, the 2021/2022 league is almost upon us. The league will kick-off with the Charity Shield on August 21, 2021, with Super League winners Zesco United facing ABSA Cup champions Lusaka Dynamos. We expect that after the FIFA International Window in the first week of September, the league proper will commence. We will draw on the experiences of the 2020 season to handle the Covid-19 challenges. With the advent of the vaccine, we are encouraging teams to take up the option of vaccination to minimize the risk of Covid-19 infection. We extend the same plea to fans and administrators to consider taking the jab as it is one of the tools that advanced leagues have used to re-open the gates to the public.
Have a pleasant week and please remember to observe all the Covid-19 guidelines!