LAST week minister of sports Moses Mawere gave a blank statement regarding winning bonuses that his government owes Chipolopolo players for their AfCON win against Namibia on 23rd March 2019 at Heroes Stadium in Lusaka. Zambia beat Namibia 4-1 in that inconsequential qualifier that dramatically still qualified Namibia to the finals in Egypt. Now, the model of financing our football for those that may not be very familiar with the development is such that the Government of the Republic of Zambia bankrolls the senior national team assignments, including payment of the senior team coach.
With the exception of the COSAFA Cup and friendly matches, all CAF and FIFA competitions that the senior national team participates in, everything from camping to bonuses is paid by government. Now, nearly four months after that win players have not been paid. So imagine, they could have gone to the AfCON finals without being paid. And during the presentation of the COSAFA trophy at his office by FAZ president Andrew Kamanga, Mawere was reminded about the winning bonuses because now, dear readers, this has become a thorny issue and players are talking about it every day.
Kamanga was very frank with the minister about this important issue because he himself lives with the pain of perpetually being reminded by the team manager about players’ demands. But it’s the empty promise or rather response from the minister that is so painful to bear. He promised to pay, just that. Payday has a date honourable minister; you can’t still be promising that the players will be paid and end there. Pay the players, they are family men like you, sir. The only difference is that you have a date when you get paid, so kindly do the same to the players. Find a date to pay them now because we will certainly need them very soon.
I am sure your office knows too well that the 2021 AfCON qualifiers are just around the corner and also the Qatar 2022 world cup qualifiers so please, we will need the same players to qualify us and that’s the more reason we need them motivated because they will be facing very motivated opponents. Enough of the empty promises. Just pay them, these games are budgeted for. There must be money somewhere in the budget for that March assignment. And please don’t bring in the stories of austerity in this, because if they don’t apply to political offices they shouldn’t apply to players. What’s good for the Goose must be good for the Gander.
AFCON ON TV
The 2019 expanded Africa cup of nations begins today in Cairo in Egypt with the opening game featuring hosts Egypt against our neighbours Zimbabwe.
That’s the closest we will be at AfCON, watching Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda – at least we are connected to these countries by association, if you know what that means.
I hope the two sad episodes of failing to qualify to the biggest football tournament in Africa has given lessons never to repeat the mistakes that led to this painful failure. Watching other teams on TV even weaker ones like Burundi, Madagascar, Tanzania surely is even more painful because with the expended tournament, it means almost half of the best teams on the continent will be in Cairo. But Zambia, champions seven years ago, will not be there, is not among the best in Cairo, what an insult!
Anyway, all the best to everyone participating but my money is on the Teranga Lions. VIVA Senegal, sorry neighbours, hahaha!
BEST WISHES KAMANGA.
So now the dust has settled and it is FAZ chief Kamanga to contest the CAF executive position.
But it won’t be easy for you, boss. Work has just begun. You are against Sobha Samier of Mauritius, Adam Mthethwa of eSwatini, Elvis Chetty of Seychelles and Felton Kamambo of Zimbabwe.
This is a strong field and we will only sit and watch the best man grabbing it on July 7. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the AfCON.
The next edition of Kick-Off will be next Friday. I am sure by then, honourable Mawere would have already paid our players.
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