By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE Football Association of Zambia says it is surprised by the position of the Confederation of African Football that denied knowing anything about the ban on Copper Queens striker Barbra Banda to compete at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
CAF through its president Patrice Motsepe said it was not aware of any medical report from the CAF medical committee that banned Banda from competing at the WAFCON due to medical reasons as it was alleged by FAZ.
However, FAZ president Andrew Kamanga said the position given by CAF on why Banda was not allowed to compete at the WAFCON seemed to disown CAF’s own processes before a watching world media.
Kamanga said the response from CAF on why Banda was not allowed to compete at the WAFCON was unfair because all the federations participating in this tournament have been subjected to the competition rules which have been set by CAF.
“We were compelled to deal with medical requirements as part of eligibility. For CAF to turn around and say they were not aware is grossly unfortunate,” Kamanga said.
“Whatever we do is part and parcel of what CAF requires. We did not exclude any player but in this case followed CAF regulations as prescribed by CAF.”
Kamanga noted the need for CAF to apply the same standard used across various leagues and FIFA competitions for consistency since the excluded players remain eligible to play in their leagues.
“Regrettably, the players being denied an opportunity to showcase their skills on African soil have been free to play at FIFA and International Olympic Committee organised competitions that deploys a less stringent standard,” Kamanga said.
He urged the nation to rally behind the Copper Queens despite the challenges the team has faced in their chase for continental glory.
Kamanga also urged Zambians to support Banda and the other players who were excluded on medical grounds as the associations ensure that justice is accorded to the players.