Visa hitch delays U-17 trip
Published On February 23, 2014 » 2893 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Football, Sports
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THE Zambia Under-17 women football team’s departure for a training camp in Miami, United States of America (USA) today for the FIFA Costa Rica 2014 World Cup finals, hangs in balance.
This is because the contingent that includes players and officials are yet to get their visas from the American Embassy ahead of the planned departure this afternoon.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) committee member, Lenny Nkhuwa, who is also chairperson for women affairs, said in an interview yesterday that the passports for the travelling party were still at the embassy pending visa issuance.
Nkhuwa, however, expressed optimism that the visas would be issued early today in time for the team’s departure via Nairobi, Kenya.
“We are still awaiting the issuance of the visas for the whole team. The passports as we speak are at the American Embassy in Lusaka. We have someone from the under-17 staff working on it but we remain positive,” she said.
Zambia kicks off her campaign on March 15 at the National Stadium in San Jose with a match against Italy, who finished third at the UEFA Under-17 championship, a Group A that will come after the hosts opening game against Venezuela at the same venue.
The Albert Kachinga side will then play Venezuela on March 18 before wrapping up group fixtures against Costa Rica on March 22 at the Ricard Saprissa Ayma Stadium in the town of Tibas.
And Nkhuwa remained confident about the prospects of the lasses at the tournament, saying the Zambian team had a talented group of players capable of beating pre-tournament favourites at the World Cup.
“Just like they shocked all those who never thought they would qualify for the World Cup finals, the girls can do it again at the tournament. They work hard for the team and that’s what you want to see in a team, it is like their hearts beat at once,” she said.
The team is tentatively set to leave today, making a connecting flight to Amsterdam, Holland from Nairobi before proceeding to the USA.
They will then fly to Costa Rica where they are scheduled to be the first team to arrive on March 11, together with the other members of Group A since they will play on the opening day of the tournament  which ends on April 4.
The team has goalkeepers Edna Phiri, Hazel Nali and Musole Ng’ambo while the defenders are Chimwemwe Mwale, Mulai Wilombe, Mary Mulenga, Martha Tembo, Bridget Lungu and Given Mukamba.
Midfielders are Babra Banda, Grace Mulaisho, Osala Kaleo, Margret Belemu, Ireen Lungu, Helen Chanda, Natasha Witika, Judith Zulu with the strikers being Jane Mubanga, Grace Chanda, Memory Phiri and Penelope Mulubwa.

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