FRANCIS CHIPALO writes
ACCLAIMED soccer analyst, Mumbo Lombe, has criticised the Kamanga-led FAZ executive for claiming Zambia could not qualify Zambia to the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017 because it found the qualifiers already underway.
Lombe said that the reasons given by Kamanga and his team for the failure was danger to the sport” because it had no clear mandate to grow the sport.
Commenting on claims by FAZ executive that said it was unfair to heap the blame on them over Zambia’s failures to qualify to major soccer tournaments, Lombe described the excuse as a hazard to the sport.
“Surely, it is very disappointing for this executive to give such an excuse for their failures and one wonders if soccer will go anywhere in this country when the people given the mandate to manage the sport give such lame excuses,” Lombe said.
Appearing before the parliamentary committee on youth, sport and child affairs on Friday, Kamanga, who was accompanied by FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala and his deputy Joseph Chimpampwe, apologised for their failure to twice qualify to the continental showpiece.
The committee chaired by Chinga Miyutu said that it was unfortunate that despite government’ continued support, Zambia failed to qualify for the 2017 Gabon edition of AfCON and the 2019 Egypt qualifying race where Zambia are bottom of Group K with four points, and behind the same points by joint leaders Guinea Bissau and Namibia.
Third placed Mozambique has seven points in the same group.
The disappointed committee demanded for answers for the failures from the Kamanga executive but the FAZ boss defended himself by saying he came into office when qualifiers for the 2017 edition were in progress.
Kamanga observed that it is unfair for people to blame his team for failing to qualify to the 2017 AFCON because the qualifiers were already underway when they assumed the management of soccer affairs from Kalusha Bwalya.
Kamanga won the FAZ presidency in March 2016.
He blamed his executive’s shortcoming on lack of enough resources which he said hindered them from hiring an expatriate coach and made them settle for a local coach in Wedson Nyirenda.
But Lombe urged the FAZ executive to simply up its game saying that Zambia has after all been able to qualify to the AFCON under a local coach.
“If they are saying that they found the qualifiers already halfway and under the former executive in 2017, what about now? Has the team been able to qualify to the AFCON? Let them just deliver because that the mandate they have given,” Lombe said.
Meanwhile, the committee attributed Zambia’s failure to qualify to the Egypt 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to poor management of the sport at the country’s top soccer governing body.