By NDINAWE SIMPELWE –
ZAMBIA Sports Fans Association (ZASPOFA) patron Peter Makembo has appealed to COSAFA to scrap off the gate charges in the remaining fixtures of the ongoing Mopani 2018 Youth tournament in Kitwe and Mufulira.
Makembo observed that it was tricky to convince fans to pay for the matches looking at the prevailing mood in the country after the senior team failed to qualify to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
“My biggest appeal to COSAFA is to allow the fans watch these games for free. We are going through a difficult situation at the moment and it will not be easy to convince fans to pay for the games. It’s not like they can’t pay but a lot are still hurting from the AFCON failure,” Makembo said.
COSAFA has pegged the gate takings at K20 open wing and K100 VIP.
Makembo said the poor attendance has robbed the tournament its excitement as the teams had been very competitive and displaying good football which the fans could have enjoyed.
He added that having a lot fans trooping to the stadia was a morale booster to the young players who were eager to make a name for themselves.
He said as ZASPOFA, he would always be available to mobilize fans to cheer the teams adding that COSAFA and Mopani should bring the tournament back to Zambia next year.
Makembo also assured Nkana fans that he would be available to offer support for the CAF 2018/19 Champions League first round first leg against Simba of Tanzania on December 15 and return leg set for a week later.
Meanwhile, Angola sealed their place in the semifinals of the tournament with a stunning 4-1 victory over Group C winners Zimbabwe on yesterday.
Zimbabwe had already qualified for the knockout stages and made eight changes to their side, with Angola able to capitalize on their lack of cohesion.
Angola edged Mozambique on goal-difference as the best-placed runner-up among the three pools and now meet defending champions South Africa in the semifinals on Tuesday at 13:00hrs, while Zimbabwe take on hosts Zambia at 15h30.
In the other match in the pool, Botswana claimed a consolation 1-0 victory over Lesotho in a game of few chances.
And organisers have also announced that the third-place play-off and final will be brought forward 24 hours to Thursday with the same kick-off times. This is due to a fixture clash with the Nkana Stadium venue now being used for a CAF Champions League fixture on Friday.