FAZ president discusses newly-formed Zambia Premier League

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Andrew Kamanga has used his latest column to discuss the birth of the upcoming Zambia Premier League.

Here is his column in full, courtesy of FAZ.

In 2019, at the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Annual General Meeting (AGM), members of the football family took one of the most progressive steps in the history of the Zambian game.

It was the moment the football family approved the decision to de-link the Zambian league from FAZ. This marked the birth of the Zambia Premier League (ZPL).

It was not an easy decision to take given the many times the move had been swept under the carpet each time it surfaced since 1976 when the National Football League was merged with FAZ.

But as with everything progressive, it does not come easily. However we have committed to seeing out this process to the letter. It was one the things that I personally committed to prior to taking up office.

The de-linking of our league means that the association is ceding not only political but economic power too. It is something we have carefully considered and weighed the cost and are more than happy to implement as it speaks to the growth of the Zambian game.

With the de-linking of the league, we will see the sponsored league which is the Super Division and National Division One administered by the Zambia Premier League. Already the road to full restructuring is in motion with the ZPL currently being managed by Mr Brian Mulenga as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Mulenga is expected in the next few months to set up structures that will enable the ZPL have its fully fledged secretariat. A limited company called Zambian Premier League has already been setup and rules for running the league have already been established which will come into force when the delinking is completed.

The Zambian Premier League will establish it’s own secretariat and will operate as an independent company owned by the clubs in the Zambian Premier League.

The League will however not establish independent judicial bodies and will concentrate on administrative and commercial affairs. The League will also have FAZ representation on the Board of Directors with FAZ owning 10 per cent of the shares of the limited company.

All teams in the League will be subject to full club licensing and will be independent corporate bodies that will be expected to be fully compliant with the legal and regulatory requirements of the laws of the Republic of Zambia.

The model has been developed after FAZ and its various organs like the adhoc League Restructuring Committee investigated and familiarized itself with models that have succeed in various parts of the world. We may not have had to look too far with South Africa having set an example for the rest of the continent. On our part we had also benefitted from our engagement of David Dein, a former Arsenal vice chairman who offered his consultancy services for free to help refine our model.

With the de-linking of our league, FAZ will concentrate on managing the national teams and also development leagues.

My executive has prioritized development from the base which will help sustain on grassroots football development drive. We will have more time to develop a more grounded structure that will enable us have more promising talents seen by our national team coaches. With a little effort we have put in so far, we have been able to reap some instant results with our under-17, 20, 23 and women national teams. This is not in any way to suggest that we are looking for quick results as long term development requires patience and careful planning.

With the burden of managing the Super League freed from us, we can have more time and resources to strengthen the development structures that we have been putting in place.

The development could also provide other opportunities like helping grow the KoPa band by kitting some of the ZPL teams. FAZ could ask the teams to avail them their specifications for their kit and then have it produced for them.

We are confident that with these strides we are making, we will change the face of Zambian football for the better. Have a productive week.