[By Bright Tembo]
FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) vice-president Rix Mweemba is dismayed with ESAE’s reception accorded to their opponents Zanaco.
Mweemba, who is Zanaco delegation leader in Benin, has described the whole episode upon arrival in Benin on Wednesday as uncalled for.
“The behaviour was very uncalled for. Football has evolved, people should stop these kind of mind games because football is won on the pitch,” he said.
Zanaco Football Club arrived in Cotonou, Benin on December 25 ahead of their CAF Confederation Cup Group B match against ESAE tomorrow, but there was no local official to receive the team at the airport.
He said it was very disappointing for the local team to behave in such a manner.
“Such kind of behaviour should not be tolerated in football because the game is supposed to unite people and not divide them,” Mweemba said. “We are in a congested city and we had to risk our players by moving in Taxi’s and without any police escort.”
He has however urged Zanaco to stay focused ahead of tomorrow’s match.
“We should not be intimated by these mind games. We just need to remain focused, look forward to the game and beat them on the pitch,” he said.
The bankers were only given a mini bus by the local club which could not carry all the 18 players.
This forced Zanaco to organise their own transport from the airport to the hotel.
Both teams go into this match without wins from their first two opening games so far in the group stages.
Zanaco has drawn their first two games while ESAE lost all their fixtures.
But responding to The Mast query, ESAE FC director of sports Quentintin Didavi said they could not offer a big vehicle to cater for an over 31-member delegation because the team arrived in Benin during a holiday.
“It was difficult to make logistics because it was a public holiday so we provided Zanaco with the Benin Taxi and the small bus from Espoir de Coton out,” Didavi said.
However, Didavi said the club will wait for Zanaco to report the matter to CAF if they think it’s the right thing to do.