THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has expressed confidence that clubs will be able to meet the deadline for club licensing which will be crucial in de-linking the league from the association.
Speaking in an interview during the 2014 Soccerex African Forum that started at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban yesterday, FAZ vice president Boniface Mwamelo said it was the wish of the association to have all club licensed to facilitate for the smooth de-linking of the league.
Mwamelo said he was happy that some Zambian clubs among them Nchanga Rangers, Power Dynamos and Zesco United were attending the two-day Soccerex programme aimed at giving them an opportunity to interact and learn from other African clubs.
He said de-linking the league from the association was potentially going to create problems as clubs need to have permanent staff running their affairs unlike a situation where the executive committee was changed every now and then.
“We intend to take stock of how far clubs have gone with the licensing programme from the time we announced this during our annual general meeting. This forum provides a good opportunity for our clubs to learn from others because we need our league to be run professionally.
Once that is done, we as FAZ can concentrate on the affairs of the national team while the league can be ran independently because so far it’s a burden to look after all the 250 clubs,” Mwamelo said
Mwamelo, flanked by treasurer Kelvin Mutafu, said the increased coverage of the league by SuperSport and large attendances at football matches was a clear signal that the Zambian game had improved tremendously but that achievements recorded so far need to be properly enhanced.
He also expressed happiness that Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili, who will today be discussing Sport and Government was attending the Forum to get first hand views from the various speakers on how best the game can be improved and that FAZ was grateful to the support it has continued to get from Government.
“Having the Minister will greatly help us learn more especially that we are preparing to host the CAF Africa Youth Champions in 2017 and also bidding to host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) two years later,” Mwamelo said.
Kambwili together with other Sports Ministers from Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria will be discussing the relationship between Government and sport and how the two are closely linked.
And in officially opening the Soccerex African Forum, South Africa Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen said the meeting should come up with a strategy that should see an African team winning the World Cup, starting with next year’s edition.
Oosthuizen said the meeting being held under the theme ‘Unifying the business of football in Africa’ said though Africa cannot favourably compete with the Europe in terms of resources, he was confident that with right planning, the World Cup title can come to the continent.
Soccerex chairman Tony Martin said the eyes of the international football community were fixed on Africa as it continues to reach out to its grassroots by developing its extensive youth programme and commercialise its professional leagues by making a major impact on the globe.
Martin said he was happy that sports development would be one of the many issues to be addressed during the gathering and that business opportunities and investment were many in this part of the world since the landmark staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.