THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has pledged its commitment to ensure all age group teams are exposed to international tournaments ahead of next year’s 2015 Senegal Africa Youth Championship qualifiers.
Responding to Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili’s call to overhaul the under-20 national team after the unfruitful outing to the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Championship in Lesotho, FAZ executive committee member in charge of youth development Lee Kawanu said the association has structured a programme to ensure continuity.
Kawanu said he will meet the minister soon to brief him on what is happening with youth development.
“It is natural for the minister to be disappointed. We are hoping to have a meeting with the minister so that we can explain what is happening,” he said.
Kawanu said the association is working with right aged players in all the teams to ensure continuity.
“We can’t discard young talent. What we need to do is to blend the players. The bottom line is we are working with boys of the right age and we are trying to strengthen them,” he said.
Kawanu said players that participated in the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa Zone Six Under-20 games last December are still part of the squad.
He said it is important to keep junior teams active and the association has devised a programme that will see junior teams participate in various provincial tournaments.
Kawanu also revealed that COSAFA member states agreed that junior teams need to be active and that a programme to that effect will soon be drawn.
“All we need is exposure. What is happening is what the minister requested…continuity,” he said.
Kawanu appealed to the business community to consider sponsoring junior teams and that FAZ does not get funding for junior teams.
“It is a big strain on FAZ because we don’t get any financial help for junior teams. With the kind of support junior teams are pulling, it is time for corporates to look at them. They can get a lot of mileage than they think,” Kawanu said.
The junior Chipolopolo finished third in Group C with four points, one behind Namibia and eventual winners South Africa managed seven points.
SOURCE: Zambia Daily Mail