THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) says there should be no room for complacency when the developmental team takes on Zimbabwe in the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) final round return leg qualifier this weekend.
FAZ vice-president Boniface Mwamelo said in an interview here that the result gives Zambia the impetus to go for an outright victory against Zimbabwe on Saturday at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Mwamelo said the team needed to be commended for putting up a good performance to hold Zimbabwe to a draw but that Herve Renard’s side should not relax just because they will be playing at home.
He expressed happiness with the players’ mental strength in handling tense moments during the games which he said had been pivotal in their good runs and urged players to remain focused and work hard ahead of the return leg this weekend in order to complete the job.
“We are a foot into the 2014 CHAN finals and all we need to do is to kill off this fixture by beating Zimbabwe at home, otherwise a draw is not bad,” he said.
Delegation leader Jeff Chipilingu, who is also FAZ executive committee member, commended Government for ferrying over 400 fans to Harare to cheer the team and that the association remains indebted for the gesture.
Chipilingu also thanked fans for having rallied behind the team throughout the 90 minutes.
“Government did a commendable job for ferrying fans to this game, I must say that the support was splendid, this is the way it should be,” he said.
Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZASPOFA) strongman Peter Makembo said the fans were happy with the draw, adding that it was a positive result for a team playing away from home.
Makembo said as far as the fans were concerned, Zambia would be heading to South Africa for the CHAN competition come January 2014 and that nothing would stand their way but urged the team to remain focused.
Meanwhile, FELIX MALUNGA reports that as the Chipolopolo’s destiny in the Orange 2014 CHAN gets a final test against Zimbabwe this weekend, FAZ has passionately appealed to the fans to pack Levy Mwanawasa Stadium to the rafters during the crucial qualifier.
Zambia needs to fashion out any form of victory against Zimbabwe this weekend after a barren draw in Harare in the first leg on Sunday to book a place at the CHAN finals in South Africa.
FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza said while qualification for Zambia was almost guaranteed, the fans also needed to play their role by cheering the team to victory in the CHAN second round, return leg in Ndola.
Mwanza said as an incentive to the fans, FAZ decided to make three-quarters of the stadium seats affordable with three of the four wings of the elegant stadium costing K20 and K50, respectively.
“This is unprecedented! Over three-quarters of the stadium will be going for K20 and K50. We (FAZ) want as many people as possible to get the stadium full to capacity,” he said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.
Mwanza said the K20 seats in the stadium had increased to now include the entire eastern upper deck apart from the usual north and south wings.
He said the east lower deck would be fetching K50 for the final ‘Battle of the Zambezi’ at Levy Stadium.
The FAZ communications and media manager also said a decision was yet to be made on the pricing for the west lower and upper decks including VIP seats.
Mwanza said the squad would begin the final push to perfect its act for the Warriors challenge today at the Levy Stadium annex ground.
So far hosts South Africa and 12 other countries have qualified to the 2014 CHAN finals, leaving only three slots to complete the line-up.