COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: FAZ hopeful of league restart soon

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) General Secretary Adrian Kashala says they are hopeful that football may be able to resume soon as government relaxes restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

FAZ have long stated that their aim is to finish the 2019/20 Super League season on the pitch, with a thrilling finish to the campaign in the offing with the top of the table tight going into the final 10 or so rounds of play.

“We are happy that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu relaxed certain rules and now the next thing we are praying for is that we do not have an increased number of cases so that probably next week we have other rules relaxed so that at some point we have our sporting activities back,” Kashala said.

Kashala said that cancelling the league could not be done unilaterally as various stakeholders needed to be factored in.

“We want to have the league decided on the pitch. It is an investment for the clubs and stakeholders so you can’t just say we have cancelled the league.

“People put in money and it is something which may not go down well with the sponsors, they are looking at the prestige and others (clubs) would win something at the end of the day. It is not something that we can just say cancel the league today and start a new league.

“This is a worldwide problem. We are about two months into the whole situation. I think we can wait a little bit longer. We are all affected, so have to take a bit of time before we make certain decisions. CAF and FIFA know the situation which we are in. the situation requires us to take a bit of time in as far as decisions are concerned.”

He said cancelling the current league did not guarantee that the next season would kick-off immediately.

“How are we going to start a new league (2021 season) when the situation would not have improved at the time? It is just important that we remain patient and look at how the situation will improve so that at the time we will have the situation controlled then we can make a decision,” he said.
“Until now we have not written to the authorities because we are still monitoring the situation and look at the best option.”

Kashala says there are three options open to Zambia to re-start the campaign.     “One of the options is to play the games behind closed doors, secondly is to allow the clubs that have games in hand to play those games and equal to all teams. Thirdly we are looking at delaying the start of the next season so that we complete the current season.”

Kashala said Zambia would not take a populist decision but methodically assess the situations that favoured fair play.

“From my understanding there is no single solution for various problems, we are in a different situation. For us we will remain here as Zambians and will apply a situation in a Zambian way. Yes, we here other countries have suspended or cancelled their leagues,” he said.

“For us it is not who has made what decision but what is prevailing here in our country. We will not bank on what other countries have done.”

He also reiterated that no life was worth losing over football.

“There is no life worth losing just for the sake of having football played. We are also very cautious and we appreciate the measures which have been put in to protect our lives from this pandemic which has affected the whole world,” he said.

Fans in all COSAFA nations are desperate for football to return, and are urged to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which include:

Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately 

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.