SUN SPORTS writes
THE Zambia national women’s team quest to prepare adequately for the Tokyo Olympic Games slated for July suffered a major blow after the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) announced the cancellation of the teams’ participation in the eight nation tournament in Turkey stating Covid-19 concerns.
According to a statement issued by FAZ Communication Manager Sydney Mungala the women’s team that were scheduled to travel for the tournament scheduled to run from February 15 – 24 in Antalya.
FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala said the results of the Covid-19 tests carried out on members of the senior national women’s team put the trip to Turkey in jeopardy.
He, however, noted that preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will continue despite the trip to Turkey having been put off on medical grounds.
“We have decided to withdraw participation from the Turkey Eight Nation Invitational Tournament after having had encountered some medical challenges in our preparation for the tournament,” Kashala said.
“It is not an easy decision to make but we always have to prioritise the health of the players and technical staff at all times.”
Kashala says FAZ had learnt lessons from the Chile outing for the Copper Queens that saw some players and staff endure prolonged isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coach Bruce Mwape had summoned 32 players including foreign based players for the Turkey outing where they were scheduled to face Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, Kashala has warned clubs against allowing fans in stadia which is an act in breach of the ban placed by the Ministry of Sports.
On January 9, 2021, Government through the Ministry of Sport banned fans from stadia following a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Kashala said FAZ will take drastic measures such as suspension of games by erring clubs from some venues that disregard the ban.