FAZ president Andrew Kamanga says the decentralization process will fully empower the provinces to run the game and help them have a greater chance of contributing players to national teams like age-group squads.And Kamanga said he is happy that Northern Province was one of the beneficiaries of the stadia rehabilitation exercise that will be funded through FIFA.
Speaking after witnessing the Northern Province league decider for the regional representative in the national play-offs for National Division One between Kasama United and Malalo Police, Kamanga said that selection of national team players for junior teams will be easier if the provinces have age-centred leagues fully functional.The FAZ boss said that the decision to organize provincial leagues by age would lie with the provincial leadership.Kamanga said that selections for junior teams like happened with the u15 national team would be much easier with structured junior leagues in the provinces.“We got an invitation to send the under-15 to Croatia, as expected what should have happened is that in the provinces you should have called for teams in the provinces to send players and then you do the selection. We have to be mindful that this process could not be realized that way because of the Covid things could not be done that way,” he said.“The province would have sat and even taken young players through trials. It was a pity that did not happen and there was a lot if suspicion in terms what was done. What was done was expedient under the circumstances.
”Kamanga urged the provincial leadership to ensure that the province begins to work on building a strong structure for age-centred leagues.“We need to start capturing players at an early age. We need to have an u11, u13, u15, u17, u19 and u12 so that when we have these opportunities you just go to the database,” he said.
“My appeal is that can we ensure that we have through the academies that we have we have u11, u13 so that they fit in the 10-year strategic plan that we have.”He added:
“All the boys who are 11 today should be part of that plan. We should focus on ensuring that we capture the players much earlier. Going forward your executive will decide if you want to run the leagues by age or you want to run the league by zoning.”Kamanga also disclosed that the provincial grants and equipment support would be increased.“Whatever we started with in 2017 with equipment support and the grant will be maintained. We want to increase the grants, Division One will get to K15, 000 and Division II K10, 000 and Division III K7, 500 and Division IV K5, 000,” he said.
Kamanga also expressed delight that Kasama Sports Stadium was one of the five stadia that would be rehabilitated under phase one of the stadia upgrade program supported by FIFA.
“I want to announce here that we have been given money for infrastructure development. We have signed an MOU with FIFA and we are going to rehabilitate five stadia in the provincial centres. Under phase one Northern Province is guaranteed to have a stadium rehabilitated. It should be possible to bring any national team to play from here,” he said.
“Each project will cost USD300, 000 at minimum. We are also committed to increasing the level of support. We have also planned to increase the grants.”All the 10 provinces will get infrastructural refurbishment with phase one picking on five provinces while the rest will be included in phase II.Phase One has Kaole (Luapula), Kasama (Northern), Independence (North Western), David Kaunda (Eastern) and Maramba (Southern).Kamanga said decentralization would give provinces more leeway in organizing the game in the grassroots.
“If you look at what we have done since 2016, we have re-organized the constitution. For the first time we have got a FAZ provincial executive in Northern Province. In fact they were elected so there is a chair, vice and women and committee member. We also want to change the structure of the league so that we have u11, u13, 15, u17, u19 and u21,” he said.
“For the first the chairman will sit in the FAZ executive committee. It is the first time we are going to have a FAZ exco member from this province. We hope that in itself will help us streamline and run the game with a clear vision because we do not want everything to sit at FAZ we want to decentralize.”