FAZ in AFCON venue dilemma

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)

Ethiopia 0 Zambia 1

THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) is in a predicament over the hosting of this weekend’s Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Guinea Bissau as Levy Mwanawasa management wants upfront payment because of the over K1 million owed.
Zambia, who beat Ethiopia 1-0 in a friendly match in Addis Abba yesterday, begin their race to the 2017 AFCON finals this Saturday when they host the Disables Noires of Guinea Bissau in Ndola.
But management at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, which FAZ has named as the venue for this group E encounter, are demanding that Football House makes an upfront payment ahead of the match.
Levy Stadium management director Mwifwa Ng’ambi said in an interview that his team is not willing to allow FAZ to stage the game at the ultra-modern facility before making a payment.
“We would like a situation where FAZ makes a payment upfront because they all disappear after every game and the debt keeps on accumulating,” Ng’ambi said.
FAZ owes the stadium management over K1million in unpaid venue fees which date back to 2013 when the facility hosted the Brazil 2014 World Cup and Equatorial Guinea 2015 Africa Cup qualifiers.
Ng’ambi, who confirmed FAZ’s request to have the match staged at Levy stadium, said it does not make business sense for his management to provide a service to the clients that cannot settle the bills.
“They just pushed in an inquiry and made the usual request where they want us to prepare the facility but we cannot prepare the venue in a situation where some people are not paying,” Ng’ambi said.
FAZ enjoys a discounted rate of K185, 000 against a commercial rate of K268,000 to host an international match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Ng’ambi has since written to the Copperbelt provincial administration seeking intervention in the matter.
“We have tried to remind FAZ on the debt so that at least they can commit themselves but they are not picking our calls and we have our own challenges that we need to sort out,” he said.
When contacted, FAZ general secretary George Kasengele declined to comment on the matter.
“I cannot comment on this issue because we are engaging government,” Kasengele said.
Meanwhile, midfielder Allan Mulenga scored the only goal as the Chipolopolo warmed up for the Guinea Bissau clash with a win over 10-men Ethiopia in an international friendly match that also saw the hosts miss a penalty.
Mulenga scored a header at the stroke of half time before he almost became a villain after his dangerous play on Aschalew Girma earned the home side a penalty in the 75th minute.
But Biniam Assefa missed the resultant penalty and more woes followed Ethiopia as defender Mujib Kassin was shown a red card in the 85th minute as Zambia held on to their 10th win over their hosts.
Kondwani Mtonga had a good chance to score with a glancing header in the 35th minute but Ethiopia keeper Abel Mamo made a good save while Evans Kangwa shot wide in the 16th minute.
Janza started the match with Danny Munyau in goal with Kabaso Chongo, Fackson Kapumbu, Aaron Katebe and Christopher Munthali starting in defence while Nathan Sinkala, Lubambo Musonda, Kondwani Mtonga and Allan Mukuka were in midfield.
Evans Kangwa and Given Singuluma were given the nod to start upfront while Emmanuel Mayuka came in for Lubambo in the 62nd minute.