…FAZ PROTESTS EPL’S DECISION NOT TO RELEASE PLAYERS FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
By MICHAEL MIYOBA
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga says it will be unfair for African countries to play their 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifiers without the best players because of the English Premier League’s decision not to release players for international matches played in Covid-19 red-list countries.
Kamanga however noted that FAZ is confident that the matter will be resolved as it is being addressed by both Caf and Fifa.
Kamanga said if the case is not resolved, Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu who features for EPL sides Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion may travel for the Mauritania game but may miss the home fixture against Tunisia because Zambia is among the red listed countries.
“This is a global issue so as you know Europe had the European competition which was played in different countries and they were given exemptions in terms of how the management of the games was done so we are confident that the measures taken by Caf and Fifa will see players being given special exemptions against those protocols,” Kamanga said.
“This is a matter which is being handled by Caf and Fifa so Zambia on its own cannot make any decision. It has to be a collective decision from Caf and Fifa,” he said.
Kamanga said the Chipolopolo technical bench led by Beston Chambeshi will implement measures which will ensure that the team adjusts to the new predicament.
Meanwhile, Caf has appealed to the British government to allow African players to travel for next month’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
And Fifa has responded to the statement from EPL with a personal message from President Gianni Infantino to British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on Wednesday.
Caf has also asked the British government to grant exemption to the continent’s stars for the second round of the World Cup qualifiers that will start next month.
Caf reiterated that the upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by Fifa and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents.
Several African players are at risk of missing next month’s international outings due to coronavirus restrictions in England.