Zambia’s match against Japan, tomorrow may have a feature unprecedented in the history of Zambian football.
A pre match meeting held this afternoon at the giant Raymond James stadium between the Zambian nad Japanese officials, agreed that,depending on the levels of tempreture,the referee will allow three minute breaks of cooling off in each half. The practice will also be allowed during the 2014, FIFA World cup finals in Brazil . Should need arise, the three minute breaks will be effected in the 30th and 75th minute of play. However the ball must be out of play for the break to commence.
And speaking at the commencement of the meeting, Match Commissioner , Mr Kagayama Hiroshi,said the match between Zambia and Japan is a great opportunity for the two countries to foster their frienship. Mr.Hiroshi asked the two teams to put up a very exciting game based on the tenets of FIFA’s fairplay.
The Zambia-Japan match tomorrow will be the first one in North America since 1976, when the KK11, as the National soccer team was fondly known then, lost three goals to two at the hands of Cananda in a pre-olympic friendly match.
Going into history the Chipolopolo have have a reason to smile as the team’s head to head statistics agansit top Asian countries, favour the southern African giants.In the past Zambia has won twice against South Korea, and lost twice also.However Zambia has run supreme over their neighbours, North Korea.
The game against the “Blue Samurai” will be the first one between the two countries.
It is woryth noting that while most Zambians may believe tomorrow’s game has only one Manchester United connection,through Japanese hero, Shinji Kagawa, there is another connection that many may not be aware of. The venue of the match, Raymond James stadium is actually the home for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, owned by the same family that owns Manchester United, the Glazers.
Over two thousand Zambians from all over America,are expected to watch this match at the 65000 seater stadium. Many have trickled into Tampa among them, former Power Dynamos defender,Peter Chitila who is now based in Dallas.
The match will kick off at 19:30 local time, 01:30 Zambian time and will be live on Super sport.
Chipolopolo are scheduled to have training session this evening starting at 19:30.This morning, the team was allowed a two hour break which most of them used to relax and take pictures around the hotel, which is built on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.