THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has dragged the Venezuela Under-17 squad to the world governing body, FIFA over alleged racist attacks on the Zambian team.
Prior to their FIFA 2014 Under-17 Women’s World Cup Group A match against Venezuela on Tuesday, the junior She-polopolo were allegedly subjected to monkey chants and racist taunts by the La Vinotinto players in full view of the Zambian team’s liaison officer, Ana Delgado, Double Tree By Hilton Hotel staff and other guests in the hotel lobby.
According to delegation leader, Lenny Nkhuwa, despite the Zambian team exercising restraint, the racist attacks continued at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica where Venezuela skipper, Lourdes Moreno allegedly repeatedly referred to junior She-polopolo players, Martha Tembo and Judith Zulu as niggers, an extremely offensive word.
In her letter to the general coordinator for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, Yolanda Kortman, Nkhuwa said despite FAZ vice-president, Boniface Mwamelo bringing the matter to the attention of the FIFA official at half time, Moreno continued abusing the Zambian players with her racist remarks.
Nkhuwa asked FIFA to thoroughly investigate the matter and also keep FAZ informed on the course of action to be taken regarding the complaint.
“We are hoping that FIFA, in accordance with its laws that were passed at the Mauritius 2013 Congress and that clearly, discredits Venezuelan’s behaviour will denounce this kind of conduct and make public declaration of such finding in order to curtail racist prejudice by any team,” she stated.
The FAZ official also asked FIFA to initiate disciplinary action under its own rules against Moreno for her alleged racist hate-mongering and further probe and punish all those who indulged in racially abusing the Zambian players.
“These measures are an urgent necessity to diffuse the ugly racism being exhibited by the Venezuelan team and in order to clamp on this despicable form of discrimination which tends to cast a long shadow over football and the rest of society,” Nkhuwa said.
She added that the racist abuse which the Zambian lasses were subjected to had caused mental anguish and distress in the team, thereby creating a hostile environment for the junior She-polopolo.
As a preliminary measure, FAZ requested the local organising committee here to consider finding Zambia an alternative hotel and separate the team from the La Vinotinto until departure.
The Zambian team has since shifted to Barcelo Hotel in San Jose ahead of yesterday’s final Group A match against hosts, Costa Rica at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in Tibas.
Times of Zambia