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  • Writer's pictureFelix Munyika

FAZ Confers with NOCZ as Paris 2024 Olympics Approach

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and the National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) held discussions today at the OlympAfrica Centre in Lusaka to prepare for the Copper Queens' participation in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Zambia Women's National Football team qualified for their second consecutive Olympics after their historic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

"Our visit is part of the preparations for the upcoming Olympics, as you're aware, on the football side, we have the Copper Queens who are going to represent Zambia as one of the two representatives from Africa," stated FAZ President Andrew Kamanga.

"As FAZ, we gave assurance to the National Olympic Committee that the Copper Queens are indeed ready and will represent the country."

L-R: NOCZ SG Boniface Kambikambi, FAZ President Andrew Kamanga, NOCZ President Alfred Foloko, FAZ GS Reuben Kamanga and Team Zambia CDM Rodrick Ndhlovu
L-R: NOCZ SG Boniface Kambikambi, FAZ President Andrew Kamanga, NOCZ President Alfred Foloko, FAZ GS Reuben Kamanga and Team Zambia CDM Rodrick Ndhlovu

However, Kamanga acknowledged some challenges with directives from FIFA, football's global governing body. "We've had a few challenges with issues on the administrative side with FIFA giving directives. But we remain confident that the team will participate at the Olympics in Paris."

Both FAZ and NOCZ are taking the Olympic preparations seriously. "We obviously [are] taking into account the importance of being able to compete," Kamanga said. "We were there in 2020, which we played in 2021, this time round. We also want to make sure that the team is adequately prepared. We will reinforce the technical bench. We also will give the team enough preparation; we have lined up some international friendlies and camping for the team in France. So this shows the seriousness that we attach to the upcoming competition."

NOCZ President Alfred Foloko expressed gratitude for FAZ's collaboration, stating, "First of all, thank you so much to the Football Association of Zambia for coming through to our offices to discuss the preparations of the Copper Queens in the upcoming Olympic Games."

However, Foloko acknowledged potential obstacles, including a pending FIFA ban on third-party interference in Zambian football. "We will be sitting with the Government and FAZ to ensure that we harmonize this," Foloko said.
"I know we are at a critical stage, and I think FIFA is ready to suspend us, but that won't go well because we all saw the performance of our athletes, which was brilliant."

Foloko emphasized NOCZ's commitment to ensuring Zambian athletes' participation. "The interest of the Olympic movement is to make sure that our athletes participate, and it's not just for the athletes but for the entire nation, the fans that stood behind the team's qualification."

NOCZ pledged continuous support for the Copper Queens, citing the already existing Olympic Solidarity funding in addition to planning around pre-Olympic training camps, and friendly matches in Paris. "We are in touch with some cities in Paris where the Team will be camping and doing some friendlies as part of the preparations before the games," Foloko said.

"We are doing that together with FAZ and the government because we know that these games will need a lot in terms of logistical aspects to ensure that we prepare the team adequately for them to compete favourably."

The discussions also covered team composition, equipment, resources, logistics, and other related concerns.

The FAZ delegation was made up of President Andrew Kamanga and General Secretary Reuben Kamanga. The NOCZ team consisted of President Alfred Foloko, Secretary General Boniface Kambikambi, Chef De Mission for Team Zambia at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Rodrick Ndhlovu, NOCZ Board Member Daisy Kopolo, and Team Zambia Games Admin for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Tinyiko Kamanga.


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