By MICHAEL MIYOBA
FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Andrew Kamanga says preparations for next years Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) are in motion after the technical bench led by Avram Grant presented a program that the association hopes to actualize in the next few weeks.
After the disappointing setback in the World Cup qualifiers where the Chipolopolo lost their round two fixture 2-1 to Niger, Kamanga said the focus will shift to ensuring that the team prepares adequately for the delayed AFCON slated for next year in Ivory Coast.
Kamanga said the association primary objective is to ensure that the Chipolopolo boys will not just be participants at the tournament in Ivory Coast.
And Kamanga remains optimistic that the Chipolopolo boys will bounce back from the shocking defeat to Niger in the last 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier played on November 23 in Marrakech, Morocco.
“The Chipolopolo stumbled in their second Group E FIFA World Cup qualifier against Niger. We had hoped that after winning 4-2 against at home against Congo Brazzaville we would sustain the momentum against Niger,” Kamanga said
“It did not happen, but we are confident that we will recover. The qualification process is a marathon, and nothing is decided after two matches,” he added.
Meanwhile Kamanga said his association is determined to make qualification for the Women Africa Cup of Nations WAFCON a habit having qualified for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
Speaking after seeing off the Copper Queens who are set to face Angola today in the first leg of the final 2024 WAFCON qualifying round in Angola, Kamanga said he was “genuinely excited at the prospects of a third possible consecutive WAFCON qualification.”
After winning bronze at the 2022 edition to guarantee Zambia’s maiden appearance at the Women’s World Cup at senior level, Kamanga is confident that the Copper Queens will beat their record when they qualify for the next WAFCON edition.
Kamanga said FAZ has over the years prioritised the growth of the women’s game and ensured that it is at par with the men’s game.
He said FAZs deliberate investment in the women’s game has seen some positive results and now the remuneration structure is the same for the women as the men’s game.