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Govt yet to commit to funding U23’s Egypt trip

WITH just five weeks to go before the Under-23 AfCON kicks off in Egypt, the government has not committed itself to funding the trip, citing financial constraints.

Zambia is among eight nations that have qualified for the tournament that kicks off in the first week of next month.

The tournament also acts as qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

FAZ has since submitted the preparations and budget to the Ministry of Sports but it is believed the ministry has not responded.

In an interview yesterday, sports permanent secretary Joel Kapembwa confirmed having received a programme from FAZ but could not commit to funding it citing financial constraints.

“Yes they have sent, I think they sent the programme,” Kapembwa said.

Asked whether the government has committed to funding the tournament, Kapembwa responded: “As you are aware, we are under financial constraints. We will help FAZ as and when we have funds available.”

Asked if that threatens Zambia’s participation in the tournament, Kapembwa could not categorically state the government’s position, suggesting that FAZ could use its own resources.

“Well, FAZ has money also, not so? You are aware that FAZ has money, so it can provide and government can also provide,” said Kapembwa.

This latest development comes as a huge blow to the Andrew Kamanga-led association which has placed a high premium on qualification to the Olympics.

Sports minister Emmanuel Mulenga a few weeks ago rejected the budget that FAZ submitted for the coming AfCON qualifiers for the senior Chipolopolo, this time citing different reasons from the ones advanced by his permanent secretary on the U-23.

This means Kamanga must start to mobilise funds for camping both the U-23 and CHAN teams.

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