SPORTS fans have condemned the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) for showing irresponsibility over the humiliation of the Zambia national women soccer team who returned from Namibia recently.
Lazarus Mwanza, a soccer fan, stated that the Government was spending billions of Kwacha on soccer but that FAZ officials were behaving as if the funding was coming from their own pockets.
Mr Mwanza said it was not fair that the team was subjected to such an embarrassment when the girls had done the nation proud by qualifying to the women’s championships in Namibia.
He said it was not right for a small issue such as allowances for players to continue disturbing the footballing fraternity when the money could have been paid to the players without so much controversy.
The Shepolopolo soccer team spent seven days at FAZ technical centre in Lusaka, refusing to disperse until they were paid their full allowances, after spending one month in camp.
The lasses returned from the Namibia 2014 AfCON on Monday last week and refused to accept the K100 they were given on arrival as allowance after being in camp for more than a month.
But FAZ says it is dismayed with the high level of indiscipline exhibited by the Shepolopolo after their elimination from the 2014 Africa women’s championships in Namibia.
FAZ secretary general George Kasengele said the kind of behavior where a group of young ladies wanted to hold the association to ransom was alien to football and could not be tolerated and condoned.
Kasengele said never in the recent past had the association been made to fulfill so many international fixtures and tournaments as has been the case in the last two years, beginning with the qualification of the Under-17 women’s team to the Junior World Women’s Championships in Costa Rica.
“This was followed by the qualification of the senior women’s team to their maiden Africa women championships in Namibia. And then came the qualification of the Under-17 and Under-20 boys teams to the Africa youth championships to be held in early 2015. This is besides the numerous local training camps for the local national team that are costing the association dearly.
“These fixtures and tournaments have taken a heavy toll on the association’s finance base which has resulted in many sacrifices being made especially with regard to meeting costs for its various sub-committee meetings and other pertinent needs,” he said.
Kasengele said the association did not receive financial support from Government to fulfill programmes both for the women and boys junior national teams, but FAZ relied on the resources realized from sponsorships and gate revenue from international matches by the senior national team to meet these international fixtures.
He said it should be emphasized that FAZ had sacrificed a lot of its time and resources to ensure that women and junior national programmes were fulfilled, even to the extent of depleting the association’s resources to the barest minimum.
He said FAZ would take steps to address challenges faced by women national football teams in future.
“The Under-17 and Under-20 boys’ teams have both qualified to their respective 2015 African youth championship finals with little or nothing from the association but pride and dedication to duty, and the players from these two teams have not held the association to ransom despite only getting FIFA approved allowances from the Football Association of Zambia,” he said.