By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE Ministry of Sports, Youth and Arts and the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) have promised to give the Zambia women’s national team players $21, 500 each which is equivalent to K363,350 each if they win the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations next month in Morocco.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga noted that the Copper Queens will get $3, 000 (K50, 744) winning bonus in the group stages of the competition, $3, 500 for a win in the quarterfinals, $4, 000 for the semifinals and $5, 000 for a win in the finals of the continental showpiece to run from July 2-23.
Speaking during the Copper Queens send-off dinner on Tuesday night at Southern Sun hotel, Kamanga noted the need for the players to make the country proud after being motivated with huge winning bonuses facilitated by the new partnership government has spearheaded with FAZ.
“If you succeed from the beginning to the end, each one of you will be guaranteed $21, 500 as a minimum. This has never happened before but we are happy the government has finally recognised the importance of women’s football. “We are going to this tournament with a lot of motivation and we urge the team to repay the support that has been promised through good results,” Kamanga said.
He also told the players that the $1, 000 winning bonus for AWCON qualification would be paid before the team leaves for Morocco.
“It remains our target that we may qualify to the World Cup for the first time, as long as you get to the semi-finals then we are guaranteed a first-time appearance at the Women’s World Cup,” Kamanga said.
Meanwhile, Kamanga has called on government to meet the costs of camping expenses as promised.
“Despite the pledge to meet the costs of camping expenses prior to commencement of the tournament, the team is travelling without the pledged funding for the camp, it remains our hope that the ministry will quickly come to our aid as you have previously announced a package of K22 million for the camping and tournament expenses,” Kamanga said.
Meanwhile, Sports Permanent Secretary Kangwa Chileshe explained the delay in paying the $1, 000 to the players and said the motivation for the Copper Queens is part of the youth empowerment programmes that the ministry had set up in the sports space.
And Copper Queens midfielder Ireen Lungu hailed both FAZ and the ministry for the support given to the team to motivate them to succeed in Morocco where they will compete in Group B alongside Cameroon, Tunisia and Togo. The top four teams at the AWCON will qualify to the World Cup that will be held in Australia and New Zealand next year.
By MICHAEL MIYOBA