FAZ President Kamanga hopeful of October start for new season

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President Andrew Kamanga remains hopeful that the new 2020-21 league season will kick-off next month as planned after lockdown regulations in the country are set to be eased.

FAZ had to cut short the 2019-20 campaign as the rate of COVID-19 infection among players became clear, and tentatively set a start date of October 21 for the new season.

Kamanga admits that lots of work has to go into ensuring the right protocols are in place for a safe start, but says his organization is on track.

We have put behind a busy week that has mainly been preoccupied with laying the ground for the coming season,” he said. “We were encouraged by feelers coming from the Head of State, His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu as he opened the 12th National Assembly.

“He may not have referred to football directly in his address but the wide-ranging measures he announced towards adapting under the ‘New Normal’ definitely provide good vibes for the game.

“We had activities that draw similar group conditions with football given the guidelines on how to proceed. With the roadmap for the re-opening of schools and bars given, it could open up more sectors that were previously closed.

“This is definitely a good sign that we could be closer to opening up more aspects of our lives, especially football. We are confident that if schools and bars can get the act of observing COVID-19 guidelines right, it should put us in a better position to manage the football end of business.

“In the background we have been doing a lot of ground work for the next season that we have tentatively projected to re-open next month.

“We are hopeful that our engagement with the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) and other key stakeholders will result in better preparedness once the season kicks-off.

“We are especially keen on getting the health protocols right and one of the proposals on the table is the purchase of testing kit exclusively for our members. This will help us have more control of the test and result chain.

“We are constantly engaging our parent ministry of sports and their health counterparts to ensure that we cover enough ground before we kick-start the 2020-2021 season.”