[By Darious Kapembwa in Livingstone]
THE delayed 2020 FAZ elective annual general meeting finally takes place Saturday morning at the New Fairmount Hotel in Livingstone.
Incumbent Andrew Kamanga is competing against former vice-president in the Kalusha Bwalya regime, Emmanuel Munaile.
Other positions being contested for are the vice-presidency which has three strong candidates after Dr Joseph Mulenga withdrew from the race yesterday and a female representative.
Former Zesco United chief executive officer Justin Mumba is facing competition from Konkola Mine Police chairman Gideon Mwenya, and Longa Mandona.
In the female candidate elections, Brenda Kunda is up against Hildah Mutangama, Priscilla Katoba and Nelly Miamba.
Kamanga has endured a turbulent four years since he defeated Kalusha in 2016 at Moba Hotel, as his criticts opposed everything he did venomously, especially when he introduced strict financial controls that led to disbanding the bloated match organising committee.
Despite improving the good governance image at Football House, Kamanga found himself facing criticism by those who were left out due to constitutional changes that aligned the FAZ constitution to the FIFA statutes.
The fights went into the courts of law which saw FIFA threaten to suspend the country from international football if meddling into FAZ affairs by external jurisdictions continued.
The warning led to a meeting between the so-called aggrieved party, government and FAZ which culminated into signing a consent judgement agreeing to withdraw matters from court as the parties and also agreeing to accept the outcome of the FIFA meeting with both parties that would eventually be held on November 5, 2020.
To this day, the aggrieved party is still fighting and had a meeting with the National Sports Council of Zambia on Thursday whose outcome was still being awaited by press time.
Reports from Lusaka indicated that a lawyer attempted to serve an injunction at Football House on Thursday afternoon but couldn’t succeed.
Nevertheless, elections are taking place after FIFA cleared the process over a week ago.
Due to the constitutional changes, only 89 voting delegates will cast the ballot and a candidate that garners 46 votes wins the race.
Kamanga has been credited with increased transparency and accountability in the usage of resources.
Under his reign, lower league teams have since 2017 been receiving financial and kit support.
The national division one league has expanded to all the 10 provinces with sponsorship from Eden University and also broadcast sponsorship from TopStar for the first time in the history of the league.
Super league clubs saw their sponsorship revenue soar to K200,000 participation fees from a paltry K7,500.
Observers say his administration has given clubs more financial incentives than previously.
Kamanga has seen the expansion of the women’s football league and the national women’s team qualified to the Olympics for the first time in the country’s history.
Although the Zambia U-20 team won the AfCON and reached the quarter finals of the World Cup IN 2018 under his charge, critics still blame him for the senior national team’s failure to qualify to the AfCON.
Government equally had its fair share in the fights, stopping FAZ from employing a coach for the senior team.
This played a big role in the team’s struggles during qualifiers, and when the current coach was employed the government took seven months to sign his contract and start paying its share of his salary.
Current coach Milutin Sredojevic gets US$25,000, with government contributing US$10,000 while FAZ pays US$15,000.
FAZ currently adds US$1,500 to the US$3,500 that government pays senior Chipolopolo players as winning bonus in World Cup and AfCON qualifiers.
He also introduced KoPa kit to be owned by FAZ after giant kit sponsor Nike refused to renew the contract with FAZ due to an influx of counterfeit jerseys.
Government equally refused to finance the CHAN team at the just ended tournament in Cameroon where no government official from Zambia was present, leaving everything to FAZ.
“Let my challenger state how he is going to increase the monies from what I have given them so far, because we are even planning to increase monies and widen the scope,’’ said Kamnga.
His challenger, Munaile, is campaigning on the platform of ‘unity and results.’
Munaile also plans to improve football competitions for tertiary institutions.
He has also promised to reduce the number of teams in the super league to reduce costs, and to introduce inter-province championships as well as introducing insurance policies for teams.