Harmonise relations with Ghana – Masumba

Michael Essien

GOVERNMENT has called for harmonisation of relations between Zambia and Ghana following the hostile reception accorded to the Chipolopolo ahead of last Friday’s Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Sports Deputy Minister Steven Masumba said the intimidation by the Ghanaians which led to the subsequent loss of the game started when that country’s Football Association denied Zambia clearance to land in Kumasi.
Masumba, who was the head of delegation to Ghana, said in an interview that even after the Zambian team made its way to Kumasi via Accra, the team was still refused entry into the stadium to train, forcing the boys to train outside the stadium where lights were later switched off.
Masumba said it was sad that he was also denied entry into the stadium by overzealous security staff that demanded for accreditation.
He said the case was the same for the players who were blocked with the officers claiming that every player needed to be accredited to have access to the stadium.
“Our ultimate goal as Government was a victory because even the people of Zambia expected just that. But now that’s water under the bridge as we cannot continue living in a regret because it will be difficult to move on especially that we have other important fixtures to come our way.
“Basically the match was not free and fair, the boys did what they could and of course chances were missed,” he said.
Masumba said he would be happy to see that the diplomatic ties were worked on as that was not the last time the two countries were playing against each other.
He said he would pass on the message to the ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that Zambians had always been known to be peaceful people.
Masumba also reminded Zambians to accept the will of God, saying prior to the match, prayers for the team were held and everything was committed into God’s hands.
He said there should, therefore, be no need to start questioning God over what happened.
Masumba said Zambians should instead remain focused on how best to recover from the defeat and get back to winning ways.
He thanked the various sponsors for coming on board and ensuring that the squad together with fans were flown to Ghana and back.
The team arrived back home on Saturday night around 23:00 hours aboard a chartered flight.