Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO
THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) is on the spot again – this time for mishandling the protest regarding Young Green Eagles against Yeta for the game played on May 12 in Sesheke, Western Province.
Eagles, the visiting team, noticed that two of the hosts’ players were unregistered.
Eagles took pictures of the two players for FAZ to determine, arguing that the faces of the players and those on the identity cards were different.
Yours truly, Eagles lodged a formal protest on May 13.
Given the status of the league at the time, the FAZ secretariat was expected to expedite disposing of such cases.
Alas, FAZ delayed to make the verdict until the league ended.
That is totally unacceptable. It is fertile for genuine criticism of people running football affairs in our country.
While the buck stops at FAZ for failing to dispose the case of such magnitude, it is regrettable that at a time when there is push for club licencing, the league can have such lacunas, especially in Division One, which is a step away from the Super Division.
I am not insinuating that Yeta are guilty of the offence – as to whether indeed they confessed to a FAZ executive member that they were wrong.
Or that when they were summoned to appear before the disciplinary committee, they claimed not to have resources.
But it is the second year in a row it is happening, especially that the matter regarding Real Nakonde has hardly died down.
This is because our country’s moral fibre, especially in football administration, is poor at all levels.
There is simply lack of integrity and poor leadership at club level, which has unfortunately spread to the national level.
Nakonde felt cheated for allegedly being denied promotion and delayed to start the league in protest for the injustice they believe FAZ meted out on them.
Instead, Prison Leopards won promotion. Unfortunately, they are going back to where they belong.
So, why should issues of unregistered players continue resurfacing in this day and age?
Clubs in the Premier Division should not be using unregistered players.
Perhaps, we need to define who an unregistered player is.
It is simply cheating.
And the punishment for the erring club is by way of docking points.
It is the only acceptable sentence under FIFA/ Confederation of African Football and FAZ statutes.
By implication the coaches and officials also get punished for abetting cheating.
In most cases, it’s failure by FAZ system to settle disputes between clubs wrangling over players.
Sometimes, it’s players being dishonest. They want pitch action but fail to explain their other contractual obligations.
Maybe, FAZ needs to educate the culprits, in this case the players. We hear of courses for coaches and administrators, this or that clinic.
There has never been a seminar or workshop during pre-season for players and their agents. That could be a starting point.
FAZ has to tutor the players and agents on the need to scrutinise contracts despite the poor reading culture in this country.
FAZ should be using events such as kit distribution as platforms for engaging club administrators, coaches and players about issues such as player transfers.
At a time when this country has a large pool of players going by the proliferation of academies countrywide, using unregistered players should not arise.
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Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO