By GRACE CHAILE –
THE Shepolopolo have cried foul at the poor diet they have been subjected to in camp ahead of the TN Mobile 9th Africa Women Championship to be held in Namibia next month.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, insiders in the Shepolopolo camp complained that they had been put on a poor diet that had seen them eating nshima with kapenta and beans in the three weeks of camping.
But Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said he could only issue a comprehensive statement after investigating the matter by talking to the team officials.
“What is known is that the diet is guided by what to eat on which day but I will make a follow up before I can issue a statement,” Tembwe said.
The insiders also said the Zambian team had been forced to source for other basic needs like washing and bathing soap including lotion from their homes as they have not been given any allowances.
“During the qualifiers, we did not get any allowances to keep us going but we managed to qualify. Imagine we have to go to our homes to source for bathing and washing soap and we don’t even have money to buy lotion.
The situation is really bad in camp as the officials had to plead for the players to remain in camp and for the others to rejoin their colleagues. Morale is low as camping has been affected because players have to go their homes to seek other basic needs to see them through the training camp,” the insider said.
The insider said it was unfortunate that the players, who train twice everyday for more than two hours under the scorching sun just to bring pride to the nation, were training under such conditions.
“The situation is so bad that even coach Charles Bwale is opting to be at his new base in Swaziland than suffer in the Zambian camp. The players should not be blamed if they fail to put up a good performance in Namibia owing to these problems they are facing,” the insider said.
The Shepolopolo are in Group A with hosts Namibia, Ivory Coast and six time champions Nigeria at the tournament that will run from October 10 to 25 in Windhoek.
Meanwhile, the Camerounian team was expected to arrive in the country last night to set up camp ahead of the AWC finals.
The West African side is expected to play two friendly matches with the Shepolopolo to help the two sides shape up for the continental women championship.
Cameroun is in Group B with South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, Ghana and Alegeria, who were the first country to arrive in Windhoek on Sunday for the championship.
The winner, runner-up and third-place team will represent Africa at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada next year.