Football Sport

Super Division venues should be above board

SOCCER REVIEW with STEPHEN PHIRI
THE 2016 Super Division season is getting underway in a month’s time.
All the 18 teams in the topflight are making final touches ahead of kick-off set for March 12.
The Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu Charity Shield semi-finals on February 19 will signal the start of the season.
Champions Zesco United, runners-up Zanaco, third finishers Power Dynamos and Barclays Cup holders Green Buffaloes will compete in the annual tournament.
However, there is more emphasis on preparing the squads rather than the facilities.
There has to be a balance because the teams and the venues they will be playing from have to be ready.
With club licensing coming into effect this year, I expect the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) inspectors to ‘bite’.
The clubs have no choice but to meet the club licensing benchmarks.
I am aware the economy is biting but Super Division teams should strive to find money and improve their facilities.
Days of conducting stadia inspections as an annual event should come to an end.
If FAZ inspectors were strict in the past, very few stadia could have been hosting matches.
Super Division teams should be taken to task so that Division One teams will know what will be expected of them when they win promotion to the elite league.
Hats off to Zambia Air Force (ZAF) who have worked on Nkoloma Stadium.
The stadium was given a facelift prior to Zambia hosting the 2012 Supreme Council for Sport in Africa Zone Six Under-20 Games. Since then, Nkoloma Stadium is the envy of Lusaka.
The facility is one of the best in Lusaka and the country at large.
Power Dynamos’ homeground, Arthur Davies Stadium, is also up to standard, so is Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, the home of Zesco United.
All the teams, whether sponsored by Government, corporate world or individuals, should aim for excellence.
Executive committees should go out of their way to source money.
I do not want to mention teams that need to improve their facilities because I assume they know themselves.
Super Division matches are televised on SuperSport and it is high time our stadia got a facelift.
It is not only about improving the turf, dressing rooms, grand stands or open wings, but all the structures.
Toilets should have running water unlike the situation at some stadia where fans urinate in car parks.
Club licensing comes with a cost and teams need to up their game to find resources.
I am sure the club licensing administrators’ course held last December in Lusaka was an eye-opener.
Lastly I wish Zesco United luck during Saturday’s African Champions League preliminary round first leg against Al Ghazala Wau of South Sudan.
sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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