MINISTER of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili has described the US$5 million Qatar 2022 World Cup scandal where Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has been named as speculation.
Kambwili said in an interview in Lusaka that it is unfortunate that Kalusha’s name has been brought into disrepute on allegations that he received bribes from former FIFA executive committee member Mohammed bin Hammam over the World Cup bid.
The Sunday Times, a United Kingdom-based newspaper, alleges that Kalusha received US$80,000 from Bin Hammam to raise Qatar’s chances of hosting the 2022 World Cup.
The minister said it is important that facts are established before implicating Kalusha.
“This is speculation until we have a report filed. It is difficult to comment on this matter until we have evidence. I cannot say anything on that issue…otherwise it is unfortunate that his [Kalusha’s] name can be brought into disrepute in that manner but we can only depend on the facts,” he said.
Kambwili said he will issue a comprehensive statement when he gets facts and will soon hold a meeting with FAZ to establish the truth.
He advised Kalusha to remain silent.
“The best you do when there is such an allegation is to keep quiet and resolve it internally with FIFA and CAF,” Kambwili said.
Liberia icon George Weah is among 30 African administrators who allegedly received payments from Bin Hammam.
Meanwhile, Kambwili described Zambia’s international friendly against Japan scheduled for Florida this Friday as a good training match.
Kambwili said it will be unreasonable to demand a win from the Chipolopolo but that they should go to the United States of America to get exposed.
“Japan is not a walkover, it is a good team. It is among the best teams in the world but football being what it is, there are no underdogs. We have got a team…it will be 50/50 but only 90 minutes will tell. I would love Zambia to win but I think if you push people so much to win, it will disturb their state of mind. So I can only wish them the best, after all this is just a friendly,” he said.