THE Ministry of Sport has demanded for an explanation from the beleaguered Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) why national youth teams have all performed poorly during the recent international tournaments.
The Government says FAZ must give a detailed report on the matter which it says has embarrassed the country.
Sports minister Vincent Mwale said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that they were waiting for FAZ to reply to the enquiry.
“We have sent an inquiry to FAZ over the poor performance of the junior Chipolopolo teams that includes the Under-23,Under- 20 and Under-17 at African Nations tournaments. We need to know what the problem is and what we as Government can do to come in at that level.
‘‘Why are the teams performing so badly? We are still waiting for FAZ response,” he said.
Mwale added: ‘‘All the three junior teams were ejected in the preliminary rounds of the African competitions, which was embarrassing for the nation.’’
He however said the performance of the senior team in the World and Africa Cup qualifiers was encouraging despite the junior teams’ failure.
“The national team has given us so much hope looking at their good results in the qualifiers. We are hopeful that the good performance will continue in 2016 and qualify for the World and AFCON tournaments,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mwale said he does not expect Zambia to make an early exit at the Rwanda African Nations Championship (CHAN) next month.
“Zambia has one of the strong leagues in the region and I do not expect the CHAN squad to come back early. She is one of the top teams at the tournament and I think we have a good squad that can take us all the way to the finals,” he said.
He however said it was unfortunate that striker Winston Kalengo will not be part of the squad, having turned professional with Congo Brazzaville side AC Leopards.
“I just read in the media that Kalengo is out of the CHAN squad. He is one of the most reliable lads in the team. His signing with AC Leopards now makes him ineligible for CHAN.
‘‘But we hope that one person leaving the team will not disturb the team’s high spirits,” he said.
Zambia is in camp preparing for the CHAN tournament in Rwanda which will run from January 16 to February 7.