Bid for AfCON 2025 – Lungu

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 11:36:29 +0000



THERE is need for FAZ to bid for the hosting of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations from CAF now that we have proved to the continent that we have what it takes to host major tournaments, President Edgar Lungu has said.

Meanwhile, South Korea has invited the triumphant Under-20 national football team to a pre-World Cup tournament which will take place in that country as a curtain-raiser shortly before the global showpiece kicks off in May.

Speaking when he met CAF president Issa Hayatou and his delegation at State House yesterday, President Lungu said while the country may not have met the benchmarks that CAF may have required for hosting the Under-20 tournament, the country would be ready to meet such conditions by the next available slot for hosting the senior continental competition.

He said hosting the Under-20 was an eye-opener to what was expected of the hosting nation and that Zambia had proved it was equal to the task, notwithstanding a few shortcomings, hence the need to lobby for the bigger tournament.

“Zambians are very passionate about football because it unites us whether we win or lose unlike the case with politics. Hosting the U-20 tournament was an eye-opener. This is the first time we are hosting a tournament of this magnitude but we did our best and FAZ should now aim to stage the senior tournament and I am sure by that time, we will have improved more in infrastructure, the hospitality industry, transport and many other areas,” President Lungu said.

He also implored CAF to investigate the suspected usage of black magic by Senegal, saying such acts would have dented the image of the country if Zambia had lost as fans would have not have taken it kindly.

And Hayatou said Zambia had exceeded all CAF expectations in hosting the Under-20 tournament and that the country still stood a chance to host the senior AfCON if hosts Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea failed to host the tournaments in 2019, 2021, and 2023 respectively.

“There are two options Zambia can either host the tournament before 2025 if any of the teams hosting the next three editions fail because we give five years in advance for the host to prepare or if that does not materialise, FAZ can still bid for the 2025 edition,” Hayatou said.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Moses Mawere disclosed that the Under-20 team had been invited for the pre-World Cup tournament by hosts South Korea.

Mawere said the team will use the pre-tournament to prepare for the World Cup but said Government will ensure that players were adequately prepared just like the case was before the AfCON to ensure that they were ready for the tournament.

Zambia became the first team from Africa to qualify to the World Cup after winning their first two games at the AfCON tournament and eventually went on to lift the trophy against Senegal, having scored a total of 13 goals in the tournamnet.


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