By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has cautioned clubs to use wisely the first batch of the FIFA Covid-19 relief funds amounting to US$500, 000.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga said the association has received the first instalment of funds which will be shared among clubs after the verification of account details which is underway.
Kamanga said the disbursement of Covid-19 relief funds from FIFA is expected to be in full swing this week and FAZ members will be kept abreast with the process.
He however noted that there is need for clubs to ensure that the relief funds are prudently used by the beneficiaries.
“FAZ expect that prudent usage will make it easier to dispense the second cycle of funds which are expected in January 2021,” Kamanga said.
Meanwhile, Kamanga said preparations for 2020/2021 MTN/FAZ League set to kick off next month are progressing well.
Kamanga said the association is hopeful that its engagement with the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) and other key stakeholders will result in better preparedness once the season kicks-off.
Kamanga said FAZ is keen on getting the health protocols right and one of the proposals on the table is the purchase of testing kit exclusively for its members.
He said the acquisition of Covid-19 test kits will help FAZ have more control of the test and result chain.
Kamanga also hailed President Edgar Lungu for opening some sectors of the economy during the opening of the 12th National Assembly on Friday.
Kamanga said the move by President Lungu who is the patron of FAZ, to provide a roadmap for the re-opening of schools and bars will guide how football will be handled under the new normal.
“This is definitely a good sign that we could be closer to opening up more aspects of our lives especially football. We are confident that if schools and bars can get the act of observing Covid-19 guidelines right, it should put us in a better position to manage the football end of business.
“In the background we have been doing a lot of ground work for the next season that we have tentatively projected to re-open next month,” Kamanga said.
He said FAZ is constantly engaging the ministry of Sports and their health counterparts to ensure that it covers enough ground before kick-starting the 2020-2021soccer season.
Kamanga said lower leagues that have not yet closed their season will be notified of the final conclusion after their proposals have been taken on board. He said It has been challenging to close lower leagues because of the conditions under which games are played in lower divisions.
Kamanga said infrastructural limitations make it impossible to host some of the matches in the lower leagues behind closed doors and testing protocols could have been a nightmare if FAZ was to apply the stringent standards prescribed by the ministry of health for the lower leagues.
By MICHAEL MIYOBA