FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Kalusha Bwalya has said the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has extended the deadline for the submission of bids for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to Monday.
Kalusha said come, Monday, November 25; the bid will reach the general secretary, Hicham El Armani’s office at the CAF headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
Kalusha said his association, the Ministry of Sport and all stakeholders related to the bid are working round-the-clock to ensure that Zambia presents a detailed proposal required for the country to host the AFCON games.
“Come Monday, November 25, the bid should be at the CAF headquarters. We are taking it personally. We will be on time; everything is under control,” Kalusha said.
The FAZ president thanked the government, particularly Republican President Michael Sata for the support towards football and for giving the go-ahead on Monday for Zambia to present the bid to host the continental football showpiece.
He said FAZ, in conjunction with the Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili and all stakeholders connected with the bid, have been working round-the-clock to ensure that Zambia presents an acclaimed bid before the November 25 deadline which has been extended from this Saturday, November 23.
“I would like to say thank you to the government, particularly President Michael Sata for approving the request for Zambia to host the Africa Cup in 2019 and also Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili, the Permanent Secretary (Agnes Musunga) and the entire team at the Ministry of Sport for supporting us.
We are working round-the-clock with all involved in the proposal to ensure that we present a successful bid that will be in compliance with the CAF requirements for hosting the 2019 AFCON,” Kalusha said.
The 1988 African Footballer-of the-Year said the government had attached great important to Zambia’s bid to host the bi-annual games by offering to build stadia in Mongu in Western Province and Livingstone in Southern Province to add to the already existing National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka and Levy Mwanawasa.
He said Zambia would add in its proposal the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka and Konkola Stadium in Chililabombwe which would be upgraded to CAF standards for hosting the AFCON magnitude.
“We already have the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, the Levy Mwanawasa in Ndola and we have also included Nkoloma and Konkola Stadium which could be upgraded to CAF standards and we are grateful to President Sata’s commitment to build two more stadiums in Mongu and Livingstone; so really we are on course,” Kalusha said.
He said Zambia had a rich history in African football and that the country had come a long way; and that being former African champions, Zambia stood a chance to be considered to host the games.
FAZ has since engaged the expertise of FIFA consultant, Ian Riley to help draft the bid with Kalusha, saying the Briton had been a FIFA consultant for a long time and was involved with the South Africa Football Association in bidding for the 1996 Africa Cup and the 2010 World Cup.
And Permanent Secretary Musunga said her Ministry had everything in place, especially following Cabinet’s approval on Monday to host the games and that the bid will be presented on time.
“We are communicating with all stakeholders. I must say we have everything in place; we are progressing very well on this bid; even us we wouldn’t want to fail,” Musunga said.