Zim lure Zambia on AfCon bid

HARARE - Zimbabwe has formally approached Zambia with a proposal to co-bid for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations following a visit there last week by Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze and Zimbabwe Tourism (ZTA) boss Karikoga Kaseke.

But a sticking point is that the Zambians have long set their sights on staging the 2019 edition on their own, so would likely not risk a sudden joint bid with just two years left before kick-off.

Only last month, Football Association of Zambia (Faz) president Kalusha Bwalya announced his country will concentrate on bidding for the 2019 Afcon finals and not the 2017 edition that was earlier given to Libya.

Libya withdrew from hosting the 2017 tournament due to delays in its plans to build new stadia, which were complicated by ongoing fighting in the North African country.

Media reports quoted Bwalya saying the 2017 edition will not be ideal for the country, adding that it was important that they concentrate on the 2019 bid.

“It’s not only for Faz to decide whether to submit a bid or not. We have major stakeholders like government and in this case we were given a mandate to bid for the 2019 Africa Cup and I think let’s concentrate on that one,” he was quoted as saying by the Zambia Daily Mail.

The 1988 African Footballer of the Year expressed optimism that Zambia will be selected to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations because the country submitted a good bid.

Zambia faces stiff competition from Algeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to win the bid for the 2019 African show piece. The Southern African nation’s last attempt to host the event was in 2004 when it failed to do so due to lack of infrastructure.

However, with the assistance of the Chinese government, the country boasts of two ultra-modern stadia while a third one will be constructed in the southern part of the country.

And today Daily News can reveal today that Mashingaidze and Kaseke, both part of a Technical Committee putting together Zimbabwe’s bid, were in Lusaka last week where they met their counterparts.

Officials from the Ministries of Sports and Tourism together with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) form the Technical Committee.

In Lusaka, Mashingaidze is understood to have held talks with Football Association of Zambia (Faz) general secretary George Kasengele while Kaseke spoke with tourism authorities in the neighbouring country.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, who is spearheading Zimbabwe’s quest to stage the biggest sporting showcase on the continent for the first time in the nation’s history, yesterday confirmed the Lusaka trip, but says he was only expecting feedback today as he had been away in New York.

“We asked them to go and engage their counterparts with the view of modelling a shared model of hosting the tournament,”Mzembi told the Daily News yesterday.

“I presume Kaseke met their authorities in the tourism sector whilst Mashingaidze saw the football leaders. I haven’t been briefed on what came out of their meetings as I have just arrived from New York.”

Zimbabwe has entered race to bid to host the 2017 African Cup of Nations following withdrawal by Libya as the host nation.

Libya withdrew after a delegation from country's Ministry of Youth and Sports that included the president of the Libyan Football Federation revealed in a meeting with Caf president Issa Hayatou that owing to the unstable security situation in the country, they would not be able to host Afcon in 2017.

Consequently, Secretary General of Caf, Hicham El Amrani, dispatched a circular on August 23 to all 54 member associations informing them of the decision and opening bids for hosting of the 2017 edition.

Zimbabwe is one of countries that have shown interest, but question marks have been raised over the country’s preparedness and organisational ability to host the tournament in two years time as the nation grapple with a serious economy crisis.

The costs and logistics of hosting such an event, coupled with the current state of the country’s infrastructure, is of major concern.

Mzembi, however, said this week that Zimbabwe had “secured the assistance” of China in the country’s bid to host.

Although he was not at liberty to disclose intricacies of China’s assistance, the Daily News on Sunday, our sister paper, understands it is part of a memorandum of understanding in which Beijing agreed to fund viable infrastructural projects during President Robert Mugabe’s recent state visit there.

Faced with glaringly shortcomings, Zimbabwe now sees a joint bid as presenting its best chance to land the tournament.

Sources in Zambia tells the Daily News the country is likely to insist on their 2019 bid.

Las month, the Times of Zambia reported that Bwalya was happy that Zambia has met the expectations Caf inspection team in view of the country’s bid to host the 2019 edition.

Bwalya, who was heading the Faz delegation in the ongoing inspections during a visit to the country, told journalists in Chingola that the country had shown its capacity to stage the continental football showpiece.

The Caf executive committee member said the facilities that had been presented to the inspection team were of high standards and that Faz was looking forward to winning the bid.

Comments (5)

Its quite good to have positive attitude towards such bigger events but the biggest question here is where and how are they going to mobilize all those resources needed yet we are failing to put food on our tables. I don't see it worthy to rely on the Chinese government assistance, God bless the plans. Well done Mzembi for that positive thought, Wish you the very best!

Nyaku - 16 September 2014

To be honest some of the things the gvt of Zim does are at the very least embarrassing and demeaning to all proud Zimbabweans, can someone tell me why a rich country like Zim would be seen begging a poor country by any standard like Zambia to co-host afcon. Have we lost our sense of pride to the extent that we can go kneel before a junior to help us even as we know they do not have the capacity? If Zambia can go it alone, why wouldn't Zimbabwe with all its natural and human resources, do the same or even better? Has corruption and mismanagement reduced us to the league of economic minnows such as Zambia, Malawi, Botswana etc, I refuse? I believe even the Zambians themselves know that even in our current state we can outbid them. They are even astounded at our stupidity. If anything it should actually be Zambia begging to co-host with us not the other way round. This Zanu pf gvt should get over their inferiority complex and let Zim be in the league it belongs to. This begging mentality must stop, Zim does not at all need Zambia and its meager resources, we have got enough to host the whole of Africa without letting out a single cough.

Tonderai Gonzo - 16 September 2014

Tonderai Gonzo whatever you call yourself Zambia in not a junior to Zimbabwe check your facts and kindly note that Zambia sacrificed a lot to freedom you are now enjoy in Zimbabwe we fought and won your independence. Learn to respect others

Morris - 19 September 2014

zim is the best all problems will vanish soon.

khuumalo nqobizitha - 30 September 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.