By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
THE Confederation of African Football (CAF) says Club Licensing, a programme the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) is implementing, should be embraced as it would only work to improve football standards.
CAF instructor Barry Rukoro said during the official opening of the two-day Club Licensing Workshop for Super Division teams at Mika Convention Centre in Lusaka that Club Licensing would improve all structures of football.
Rukoro said that football’s success was not just about the game on the pitch but several other aspects that had been ignored in Africa and needed enhancing.
He named some of the areas that needed to be addressed as financing structure, legal parts, infrastructure as well proper administration.
“This Club Licensing will just work to improve the quality of professionalism, financing as well as quality of football that will be produced at the end of the day,” Rukoro said.
His words were echoed by fellow instructor Poobalan Govindasamy of South Africa who said that the CAF was well aware of Zambia’s unique structure, especially about club ownership and that the continental football body would not distort the structure.
“In South Africa for example, clubs are owned by the community and individuals but in Zambia we notice that it’s the institutions that own these club like the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and others. That is your structure as we have to work with that,” he said.
FAZ treasurer Rix Mweemba got to work immediately when he officially opened the workshop and urged Premier Division clubs to make sure they meet the December 31 deadline.
Mweemba said Club Licensing would enhance competitiveness, professionalism in ownership and running of clubs.
He said that this will also improve good governance, prudent and transparent financial management as well as avoid choking or killing of clubs and football.
Mweemba said while Zambia’s club ownership system was in conflict with some of the Club Licensing tenets, CAF was fully aware of the system and agreed not to destroy the structure.
The biggest threat to the Zambian structure is one-sponsor, one club rule which could mean the several Zambia Army, Zambia Police and Konkola Copper Mines as well as Mopani Copper Mines sponsored teams would have to go under.
“Zambia has a unique set-up of club football, one which is special in its own way and different from many across the world. Our national Licensing Manager has been engaging CAF on the unique nature of our clubs and keeps seeking ways we can adapt the five key criteria of licensing,” Mweemba said.
He said that Zambia had learnt from other confederations like the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) that have in addition to the five key criteria, incorporated a sixth criteria in line with the laws and situation of their game in that region.
Mweemba said it was FAZ’s belief that the global regulations will be adjusted to suit Zambia’s prevailing situation of club ownership.
“We worked hard with Zanaco and Zesco United in beating the November 30 deadline for licensing of our two CAF club continental envoys. It now remains for the rest of the 18 teams to complete the process and be licensed,” he said.