FAZ, Clubs refine League resumption roadmap

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and its members have zeroed in on the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health with their eyes firmly on kicking off the league on July 18.

FAZ president Andrew Kamanga thanked President Edgar Lungu for heeding the cry of the football fraternity to re-open the league albeit behind closed doors.

And Director of Sports John Zulu said the first match on July 18 will be crucial in signalling the return of the game.

FAZ held a meeting with Super League and National Division One teams from Southern, Central and Lusaka while the rest of the provinces will convene on Thursday in Ndola.

Kamanga said that FAZ had decided to engage the members to ensure that all the matters around the guidelines are clarified.
“We wish to place it on record our sincere gratitude to the Republican President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the honourable minister of sports, and the working group which has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today,” Kamanga said.
“We have placed a high premium on a consultative approach whenever decisions with far reaching consequences are taken.”

Kamanga said that if the members implemented the guidelines religiously it would give lower division clubs a quicker return.

He said that lower division clubs would also get their chance to play once the premier league progressed smoothly.

“May I make it clear that this is only the first step, as there is a lot more work to be done once we leave this meeting. A lot depends on how we are going to handle this process including the resumption of the matches for our lower leagues,” he said.

“Our desire is that all the leagues are decided on the pitch. We urge our lower division members to exercise some patience as we continue to engage the authorities on the possibilities ahead of us. The expectation is that once we have handled the Super League and National Division well, we could press to consider the lower leagues. We are conscious of the heavy demands placed on us by the authorities that may be beyond most of our lower leagues.”

During a question and answer session, the clubs sought clarity from FAZ, ministry of health and ministry of sports.

FAZ said clubs would use their stadia for their matches for Super Division provided they implement all the measures in the guidelines.

The National Division stadia may be tinkered with depending on the way the fixture is tailored.

Zambia Premier League interim manager Brian Mulenga told the gathering that fixtures will be tailored in such a way that teams with games in hand will kick-start the resumption.
Mulenga said that the structure was meant to ensure that teams like Zanaco caught up with the rest of teams.

Zambia National Health Institute representative Dr Raymond Hamoonga highlighted the guidelines expected of members to implement at every stage.
Games will resume on July 18 behind closed doors with clubs commencing training on July 1.
The rest of the teams will convene on Thursday in Ndola.

All the clubs have been furnished with guidelines that were provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Sports.

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