…FAZ Chief Kamanga confident Zambia will perform according to expectations
By MICHAEL MIYOBA
FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga is confident that the Zambia national soccer team will deliver to the nation’s expectations at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicking off on January 13 in Ivory Coast.
Kamanga believes the Chipolopolo technical bench led by coach Avram Grant has done its homework in terms of preparing the team for the tournament.
The Chipolopolo yesterday shifted camp to Saudi Arabia where they are set to engage in two friendly matches slated for January 5th and 9th.
Kamanga said it is not by accident that a lot of AFCON bound teams are setting up base in Saudi Arabia because of the world class facilities.
“We were able to witness firsthand the world class facilities Saudi Rabai has set up during the FIFA Club World Cup. Most importantly, the presence of many AFCON bound teams in Saudi Arabia makes it easier for teams to organize friendly matches,” Kamanga said.
The chief said the football Association will provide logistical support to the team while expecting the team to reciprocate with good performances.
Kamanga said the association has been working closely with government in line with the existing Memorandum of Understanding to ensure that everything is logistically done to ease the team’s preparations.
The FAZ chief urged the public to rally behind the players the coach and his technical bench have picked.
“As we roll into 2024, we expect that it will be a year that we will take us to even greater heights. Our scorecard in 2023 was above board with the Copper Queens qualifying to the world cup, the Chipolopolo qualifying to the AFCON while the U17 and U20 boys qualified to the Africa Cup of Nations,” Kamanga said.
He said there are greater targets in 2024 with the Copper Queens fighting for a consecutive Olympic qualification while the Chipolopolo have their sights on world cup qualification.
“We have every reason to believe 2024 will be better in football terms. We can only urge everyone to jump on board and ride with us as we aim to take Zambian football higher,” Kamanga said.
At the AFCON which will run from January 13 to February 11 the Chipolopolo will the first match on January 17 against Congo at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in the coastal city of San Pedro.
Four days later the Chipolopolo will take on the Taifa Stars of Tanzania before winding up their group matches on January 24 against the Atlas Lions.