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Kick Off: OF BOLA, FAZ AND ULTIMATUMS

ON Wednesday, a news item aired on ZNBC indicated that Minister of Sports Emmanuel Mulenga has given the Football Association of Zambia a three-day ultimatum to submit a technical report on why Zambia failed to qualify to the 2019 African Cup of Nations that was hosted by Egypt.

We listened to this item with colleagues while in the office and we all burst into laughter at once.

Every person that I spoke to after listening to that item asked a follow-up question, “So what happens if FAZ doesn’t submit the said report in three days?”

I had no answer since our colleagues at ZNBC did not disclose the consequence of failing to do that from the minister’s point of view.

Others wondered why the minister’s order came in 2020 when another series of qualifiers to the next year’s AfCON have started.

One person asked me “Will the minister stop the announcement of the new Chipolopolo coach if the report doesn’t reach his office by Friday?”

Again I could not provide answers but obviously this person was concerned about the timing. FAZ is having its executive committee meeting today after which a new coach from the shortlisted three is going to be announced and so he thought the minister could stop that process using the ‘ultimatum.’

Then he said but why can’t FAZ just write the report and send to him so that we see what happens next.

This one I spoke with confidence because I have answers: “Unless he is asking FAZ to rejig it and send it to him because FAZ did a similar report addressed to him, but maybe he did not receive it who knows!”

Enough of my inconclusive explanations to my inquisitive friends, truth is, FAZ sent a six-page report to the Ministry of Sports and it was directly addressed to the minister himself on 20th August, 2019.

Due to space limitations, and since I managed to see the same letter/report if you like, I will not manage to itemise everything contained therein.

But item number (2) specifically tackled the failure to qualify for both the 2017 and the 2019 AfCON finals.
There in FAZ explained the reduced winning bonus from US$3,500 to somewhere US$1,600 whilst the qualifiers were in motion, the challenges in hiring a qualified permanent coach and suspecting match-fixing as some of the reasons for that failure.

Whether the reasons are enough to justify that failure is a story for another day but it’s fair to say, the report is there and many journalists saw it, reported about it, unless the minister wants a different one in a different format.

Anyway dear readers, pay attention to incidents leading up to the elective AGM coming in March because mmm…
No need to write too much because the writing is on the wall except to say we must be careful with precedents we want to set because Football House will become ungovernable in the long run regardless of who occupies it. These things come back! But for curiosity’s sake, what happens if FAZ doesn’t rewrite the report? napita mukwai…

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