By Mercy Chewe
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga has told clubs to upgrade their stadia to international standards instead of complaining about playing games in the rainy season.
Some people say FAZ Super Division matches should not be played in the rainy season owing to the disruption of some games by rainfall.
Writing in his weekly column called Presidents Corner; Kamanga announced that FAZ will engage clubs on the possible ways of ensuring that stadia upgrade takes priority.
“The debate about stadia is almost always sparked each time we have heavy rains or storm during matches. We know where we are coming from with the change of calendar that was done to align our season with the FIFA/CAF schedule. Rather than complain about playing our games in the rainy season we must take up the challenge as an opportunity to work on our infrastructure,” Kamanga wrote.
“It is regrettable that our clubs have not been aggressively responsive in ensuring that infrastructure is upgraded to match up the level of exposure they have had playing on the continent. With strict CAF standards for hosting continental matches, it would be good to be forward looking for clubs that have targeted CAF participation to work on the football infrastructure,” Kamanga said.
“Some of the challenges around stadia upgrade do not necessarily require money but only a little effort. The dream of every club would be to host their CAF matches at their home turf which maximizes the proverbial home ground advantage. The easiest way out would be to demand that the nation reverts to the old calendar, but it would be setting us several steps backwards. It may be easy to forget that even the old calendar had part of it played in the rainy season,” he said.
Kamanga said FAZ is working with the Government and FIFA in renovating selected stadia in the country.
“We are also playing our role in leading by example by having initiated stadia upgrades in four provinces namely Luapula (Kaole), Eastern (David Kaunda), Northern (Kasama) and North Western (Independence). Additionally, Maramba Stadium will be also worked on in partnership with the government. FIFA will provide USD300, 000 portions for the project with the rest of the funds coming from the government. The plan is to rehabilitate at least one stadium in each province,” he said.