Today, we open a weekly column on our platform that will feature thoughts from the FAZ president Andrew Kamanga.
The platform will afford football lovers an opportunity to tap into his thoughts about the game and provide regular updates on developments in the game.
It will also be an opportunity to get feedback from various stakeholders in the beautiful game.
We momentarily leave him in your hands as he belts out his first of many more interactions to come.
PRESIDENT’S CORNER: KEEPING HOPE IN THE NEW NORMAL
Welcome dear readers to this first of many interactions. We are happy that you continue to provide a lifeline to the game even amidst the critical times that we find ourselves in. it is only natural that my first interaction with you on this platform has to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. It is almost three months since we suspended all football activities arising from the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. It has not been an easy three months as we have daily been inundated by regular calls of when football could return.
We have as much as possible tried to provide updates in collaboration with the information relayed to us by the Ministry of Health. The corona virus is such that no one could have prepared for the devastation that it has caused across the globe. But we are happy that things are beginning to look up with several measures incorporated to ensure that the world continues to embrace the new normal.
This however should not mean that we drop our guard as the threat remains real as seen from some countries’ whose cases remain on the upswing. Closer to home, we are also gratified that His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has been slowly opening up various aspects of our economy including other sports like golf and tennis albeit under restricted conditions. We continue to keep our hope from the football fraternity that our engagement with the authorities will soon yield a return to football. We are mindful that this is not expected to be a blanket opening of the games.
On our part we have proposed several measures that will be in place once the games resume. We have shared the options that we presented to our continental body CAF with our authorities here. Our number one option is to ensure that the games are played behind closed doors. This will enable us complete the remainder of our 2019/2020 season games. To do this we have proposed that the games be played at selected venues that fit the safety and health measures that we have suggested. We have been monitoring the measures put in place in other leagues that have returned to action like the Bundesliga and are hopeful that we should be able to play our games without any major glitches.
We have also provided the option of a relief fund for our members as compensation for playing the games behind closed doors. We will in due course provide the numbers as we await an announcement from FIFA and CAF on how much they will extend to member associations as part of easing the burden.
Our second option was to allow teams play an equal number of games in order to decide who wins the league or slides into relegation. However, we are conscious of the fact that most of our clubs have been desirous to see the winner of the league crowned from playing all the games. All these remain options that we have put on the table with the most extreme one being calling off the league completely.
We appeal to all our members to remain calm as we engage the authorities on the re-opening of our league. We may have to consider optimal more ways of concluding our lower leagues given that the covid-19 threat remains present and the pressure of having to implement the stringent safety measures demanded of such an undertaking.
As we have always said no life is worth being lost over football.
Have a pleasant week and remember football will be back soon!