Nike deal expose’ rocks FAZ..

TENSION gripped Football House yesterday after the Daily Nation expose’ of the Nike deal ‘‘corruption’’ scandal, with some Football Association of Zambia executive officials pleading with the alleged whistleblower, FAZ treasurer Kelvin Mutafu, to refute the statement he sent to some FAZ counsellors via email.

Sources close to FAZ revealed that some officials pleaded with Mutafu to refute the revelations he allegedly made to the media.

The sources said the two officials called Mutafu several times on Thursday, pleading with him to deny the story in a statement he had sent on Wednesday to some FAZ counsellors.

However, Mutafu reportedly refused to retract the story, telling them boldly that the revelations by the Daily Nation was ‘‘gospel truth’’.

They kept on calling Kelvin yesterday (Thursday), trying to plead with him so that he refutes the story. But he rejected their suggestions,” the source said.

FAZ has since summoned Mutafu to a FAZ executive meeting following the story.

Communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said in view of Mutafu’s statement, an emergency executive committee meeting would be convened within 72 hours at which Mr Mutafu would be asked to substantiate his claims and provide proof of his allegations.

In a statement issued to Daily Nation yesterday, Tembwe said FAZ took governance matters seriously and any statements casting aspersions on the integrity and standing of Football House and raising allegations of corruption were taken very seriously and would be dealt with ‘‘fairly and firmly’’.

Tembwe said the meeting would be convened over the next 72 hours and its outcome would be communicated immediately.

Meanwhile, a football administrator at Kasama United Club Mwansa Kapyanga praised Mutafu for revealing the corrupt activities in FAZ, especially the scandal of  producing Nike replica jerseys in China and sharing the proceeds secretly.

Kapyanga said FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya called him “childish” when he inquired about the Nike deal owing to the sub-standard kit the Chipolopolo wore during the friendly match against Gabon at National Heroes Stadium in September.

“On October 2, on a phone-in programme on Radio Mano station in Kasama, Kalusha called me ‘childish’ after I inquired about the Nike deal. I asked because he had not explained on what terms the Nike deal ended,” he said.

And Kaoma football administrator Jack Biemba challenged the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to thoroughly investigate the revelations by the FAZ treasurer.

“If it were an ex-official, they could have denied the corrupt activities. But now it is coming from the treasurer and the ACC must take interest. If FIFA is facing investigations, why not FAZ? What is so special about FAZ that they cannot be investigated?

‘‘Government pumps in money in FAZ and it is unfortunate that a few individuals are benefitting,” he said.

He described the corrupt allegations as serious which needed to be investigated thoroughly.

On Wednesday, Mutafu revealed that some FAZ officials had contracted a Chinese firm to reproduce Nike second-hand jerseys in China and were sharing proceeds of the secret deal.

He further revealed  that this was how Zambia lost the lucrative Nike sponsorship because an individual was allowed to  reproduce the Chipolopolo jerseys in China while the proceeds directly went into a few individuals’ pockets who were part of the syndicate.