By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has clarified that Saudi Arabia is a perfect destination for an international camp for the Chipolopolo boys who are set to regroup on December 26 ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to kick of next month in Ivory Coast.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga said the Saudi Arabian camp is logistically logical as other teams will set up pre-tournament camps there which makes it easy to network on friendly games.
Kamanga said Saudi Arabia will also provide a quiet corner to prepare better for the assignment at hand.
“We have every reason to believe that with good preparations we can have a fruitful tournament. We have a group of players that have grown together over time and are hungry to write their own history. Our duty is to ensure that we support them organisationally,” Kamanga said.
Kamanga appealed to the fans to speak positivity into the team’s aspirations and urge them to do the nation proud at the AFCON.
He said FAZ has consolidated its engagements with the government over the preparations for the AFCON and hopeful that all the logistics will be on point.
On the Copper Queens who already secured qualification for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), Kamanga said, “We await the programme from the technical bench for the tournament preparations. We are mindful that the team has Paris 2024 Olympic Games two-legged qualifiers in February against Ghana in the penultimate round.”
Kamanga said the target is to earn back-to-back Olympic qualification to match the growing reputation of the Bruce Mwape-drilled side on the continent.
Meanwhile, Kamanga said FAZ is encouraged by the interest FIFA has taken in the case to introduce VAR technology in the Zambian league.
After hosting a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology workshop which was facilitated by FIFA officials, Kamanga said Zambia is in a privileged position with the availability of some already trained VAR officials who piloted the technology at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Cosafa senior women championship.
“FIFA provided us with clear guidance on the steps we need to take to actualise VAR in Zambia. Our match officials appointed for international assignments will be disadvantaged if we do not expose them to this inevitable world tested development,” Kamanga said.
Kamanga admitted that the process to implement VAR in Zambia may take a bit of time, but FAZ will not relent on the aim to elevate the Zambian game to the next level.