Football Sport

Club licence: FAZ must continue engaging stakeholders

THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) seems to be coming to terms with reality regarding the club licencing issue.
At the just-ended club licencing seminar in Lusaka, FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya reported that they are engaging the Confederation of African Football (CAF) regarding the unique nature of the Zambian league.
It is true.
Apart from Lusaka Dynamos and maybe Super Division new entrants Lusaka Tigers, all the teams in the elite league are sponsored by either Government or companies.
Government is the biggest stakeholder as far as soccer development is concerned because it sponsors Green Buffaloes through the army with plenty of satellite clubs dotted around the country, Red Arrows via the Zambia Air Force, Nkwazi who have nurseries ranging from Division One to amateur at nearly every police camp and National Assembly through Parliament.
The Zambia National Service (ZNS) also owns Green Eagles.
Then we have the mining sector also running Konkola Blades, Nampundwe and Nchanga Rangers (Konkola Copper Mine-owned), Nkana and Mufulira Wanderers bankrolled by Mopani, Luanshya Copper Mine runs Roan United and Copperbelt Energy Corporation sponsoring Power Dynamos.
Zambia Railways Limited finances Kabwe Warriors and Zanaco under the bank which brags to be Big, Strong and Reliable.
The Zambia Forest and Forestry Industries Corporation has Forest Rangers while Mufulira Blackpool are the flagship of the local authority.
So, to effect club licencing in Zambia is not an easy task because it entails reforming not just the teams but the institutions that run them.
FAZ should have visited the five mine teams Nchanga Rangers, Nkana, Mufulira Wanderers, Roan United and Power Dynamos, including Warriors which attempted professional football in the 1990s but failed.
While the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines and its subsidiary then Power Copperbelt Company and Zambia Railways were willing to professionalise their clubs, they lacked capacity.
All the limited companies set up by the mining conglomerate, including Zambia Railways to run the clubs as independent entities failed.
Reason: they still relied on staff from the holding companies to run their business ventures.
Assuming the club licence being espoused by FAZ is real and Zanaco have registered a company to run the football club, why don’t we, for instance, have the Zanaco bosses resigning from the bank and start running the Zanaco F.C. company?
Truth be told: It is not feasible to force the Army, the Air Force and ZNS to form companies to run clubs. They need authority from the Ministry of Defence, which has to liaise with the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, Trade and Industry, Labour and Social Security and a host of other things.
For now the sensitisation has begun and consultations have to continue for another three years as sponsors begin to reform.
After all, even FAZ itself has been reluctant to divorce itself from running the Premier League as an independent entity – which is supposed to be the beginning of the licensing phase.
phiristeve4@gmail.com, sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm

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