Girls team deserves better treatment
Published On February 27, 2014 » 3049 Views» By Administrator Times » Columns, Sports
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Sport On - ChipepoMY heart goes out to the Zambia Under-17 women’s team that finally left for a training camp in the United States (US) ahead of the Costa Rica 2014 FIFA World Cup finals that get underway next month.
I feel the team deserved better treatment after their historic qualification to the World Cup finals.
With the absence of an organised league structure for women and inadequate infrastructure, the girls managed to do the impossible by beating highly exposed South Africa to qualify to the Costa Rica finals where they will face the best sides the world can boast of.
While a training camp was secured for them in San Francisco, California, I feel the team was less motivated prior to departure on Wednesday.
The team complained about failure by Government to pay them winning bonuses which we have been told have now been given to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to pay the players and coaching bench.
A better training camp coupled with various high profile friendly matches should have been arranged to boost the team’s preparations for the global showpiece.
It is my hope that there is a serious training programme lined up for them before the players end up being just tourists ahead of an important tournament.
The visa hitch should never have occurred in the first place as it only delayed the players’ departure and programme in the US.
Football House should have ensured everything was in place for the contingent and get their documentation ready on time.
I want to believe that was the last hiccup to face the team as any distraction this time around could have a big effect on the players, who needed to be prepared well to perform at such a big stage.
I should not be misunderstood as being ‘unpatriotic’ by criticising the poor preparations for the team to the world showpiece, all I want is people to understand that the girls were not adequately prepared, period!
Against this background, I only expect a miracle but on the other hand, the outing is a fantastic exposure for the young talent.
It is high time that women got organised at high level because the qualification is testimony enough that we have the talent but we lack investment and organisation.
If anything, let us avoid last minute investment!
However, let me wish the senior women national team the best as they take on Tanzania in the Namibia 2014 Africa Women Championship today in Dar-Es-Salaam.
Nkana Football Club and Zesco United in their CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup engagements respectively.

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