UPDATE: O. Erick Mwanza, spokesperson for FAZ has reportedly announced that Ghana has offered Chipolopolo a practice session at 08:30 in the morning before the game, after the Zambian side was not able to train the day before. Under FIFA regulations, the home federation must allow the away team a one-hour training session on the stadium field the day prior to a match. That time has to be agreed upon in advance and confirmed in writing. According to Ghanaian journalist Gary Al-Smith, the arranged time for the match was 4pm local time, but the Chipolopolo failed to show up on time. Erick replied by saying ” Training times are agreed between delegations. not cast in stone! did we lock them out in Ndola?”
Reports have come in from the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) saying that the team was locked out of the Baba Yara stadium, where they were supposed to train in preparation for their World Cup Qualifier against Ghana. According to the official FAZ twitter, ” Our Chipolopolo could not train at the Baba Yara because Ghana FA and stadium authorities stopped them from entering stadium.” It is reported that when the bus carrying the team arrived, the gates to the stadium were locked, and the floodlights lighting the pitch, were turned out. This meant that the Chipolopolo were forced to do their training in the concrete parking lot outside the stadium.
While the Chipolopolo were training, hundreds of Ghanaian supporters stood by chanting ‘away’ to the Zambian side. The FAZ has reported that some of the players, such as striker James Chamanga, had to be checked out by the team’s medical doctor for reported injuries. Some reports have said that some members of the crowd threw stones at the Zambian footballers, while they were training. Later, while the team was attempting to train in the parking lot, their practice was again delayed when the lights of the parking lot were turned off, and everyone was submerged in the dark of the night.
While some have reported that this seems to be Ghana’s fault, others have protested that the Black Stars had nothing to do with it. It is reported that the Chipolopolo were supposed to show up at the Baba Yara stadium at 4pm in the afternoon, but did not arrive until 7pm. It must be noted that the Zambian side was only allowed to fly in to Accra, a three hour drive from the stadium they were playing in. Also, some members of the crowd said that there was nobody throwing stones or attempting to injure the Zambian players, only chanting and observing them train.
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