OPINION PIECE by Puncherello Chama
The Minister of Sport Moses Mawere was recently in the media and stated that currently Government would not back FAZ’s idea to co host the AFCON because there is not enough time and while I agree with that we certainly have the infrastructure to co host a future AFCON.
When Zambia made a Bid to host the 2019 AFCON it was actually a shock how the Cameroun bid went through in 2019 and how Guinea and Ivory Coasts Bids went through in 2021 and 2023 when all three countries of Cameroun, Guinea and Ivory Coast at the time had less football infrastructure.
On Cameroun by 2014 they had not built a new stadium and the newest stadium they had was the Roumdé Adjia Stadium built in 1978.
Similarly Guinea and Ivory Coast newest Stadia were built in the 1970s and 1980s and both countries were also behind in having enough training Facilities.
On the Contrary Zambia met all the criteria by having two stadia which were already in use by 2014 with a Capacity of more than 40,000 for both while two extra stadia of Konkola Stadium and Nchanga Stadium which were to be renovated and brought upto speed were ready.
In terms of hotels and accommodation Zambia recieved more international visitors in a year than both Cameroun and Guinea while Ivory Coast recieves slightly more visitors but Zambia has more hotels and accomodation plus airports than all three countries.
The stadia to be used as training pitches were more than anough while in Cameroun and guinea at the time top league matches were still played on dust pitches and school grounds and even upto today soime league matches in Guinea are played on dust pitches.
Thats why it amazed the former FAZ General Secretary George Kazengele on how Zambia lost nit one but THREE bids in a row having had better footballing infrastructure then and to date than all three countries.
Its also amazing how CAF awarded the hosting of the AFCON to three countries from the same region and worse still all FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES.
Statistics online on FIFA 2014 and 2018 WORLDCUP AFRICAN Qualifiers showed that Zambia Ranked number 6 in attendances during both tournaments only behind DR Congo, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal.
All three of Cameroun, Guinea and Ivory Coast recorded smaller attendances than Zambia in both the 2014 and 2018 Worldcup Qualifiers.
How the three won Bids over Zambia shocked many people at FAZ but with that said the Copper Producing Nation still has the opportunity and capability to Co Host in future.