Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga says the FAZ Council will have the final say whether he will be re-elected in office or not.
And Kamanga says FAZ cannot state when elections will be held until FIFA gives direction after having presided over a tripartite virtual meeting involving FAZ, aggrieved parties and government on November 5, 2020.
Sticking to his media friendly approach, Kamanga featured on the widely followed ZNBC Sunday Interview program and gave direction on the future of the Zambian game.
The FAZ boss said it was not up to him to decide whether he continues at the helm of the game or not but that the clubs will decide when elections are held.
“Our football has got members, the same members are the ones who are going to decide who is going to be in FAZ, they are the ones who elect. We are having an election; they are the ones who are the best judges to say whether we have delivered to their expectations or not,” he said.
“If the soccer fans are judging, they will obviously have their criteria, they will tick off AFCON that is their criteria. But if you go to the members and do your own research. Our executive is the only one since 2017 when we reorganized our constitution that took advantage and brought decentralization.”
He said, “For the first time we are going to have FAZ executive members elected from all the 10 provinces. We started in 2017 and are giving all the 160 teams across the country equipment support in form of five footballs, a set of jerseys and a grant of K5, 000. Consistently in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. That support is not meant for elections but develop the game.”
Kamanga said it was unfair to anchor the success or failure of an administration purely on the success of the senior national team.
He said his administration had scored many successes in the game which including shaking up the foundation for junior and women teams.
“Everything we have done will now start showing in the next four-year cycle. So, there is no doubt that the things we have done in the first four years have been very remarkable,” he said.
“Like I said to you, we are the only executive that delivered youth development for the first time that has never been achieved. Are we going to throw away all that success because we have failed to get to the Africa Cup? Is that the standard? Even the same Africa Cup, should we be going there to make the numbers? Or should we change the standard that we should now compete?”
Kamanga said a lot of strides had been made in the women game which culminated into a historic women Olympic qualification.
“By the way on the other side we have been developing women football. Of course, you will say that it is not important, but we qualified for the women Africa Cup in 2018. In 2019 our three teams at Cosafa, the senior and u20 were second while u17 were third. The women are going to the Olympic and are the best team in Africa,” he said of the Copper Queens that defeated Chile 2-1 on Saturday in a top grade international friendly in Santiago.
“The last time we went to the Olympics was in 1988, much as you are saying that we have failed, all these elements are part of football. Are we just supposed to be in FAZ to look at AFCON and World Cup and ignore everything else? Even our league, it has been under our administration that we have been able to secure four slots for CAF competitions. Are all those are not achievements? Are we in FAZ to just run the senior national team and ignore everything else? All the pieces must be together.”
Kamanga said his executive had partly been fought for having adhered to the FIFA directive to align the FAZ Constitution to FIFA statutes.
The alignment of the constitution had birthed bodies like the Ethics Committee, Integrity Checks and Electoral Bodies that had not sat well with some people.
“There has been a lack of appreciation of why the constitution was changed in 2017. In fact, FIFA had directed FAZ to change the constitution and align it to FIFA statutes as early as 2006. It took 10 years from that point for us to come into office,” he said.
“We got in office on 21st March 2016 on 28th there was a letter from FIFA that if you do not change the constitution by 31st March 2016, we will suspend you. We had to restart the conversation. Fortunately, FIFA allowed an extension of six months from September up to March 2017.”
Kamanga adds: “That constitution saw the introduction of the infamous integrity check, the Ethics Committee, the independence of the judicial bodies and all these elements. These have been source of the said wrangles. Our constitution is very clear, either you are a member of FAZ or not? Those that have taken FAZ to court are not even members of FAZ and have found the advantage of going to court and getting an injunction to stop the election.”
Kamanga said he did not introduce the integrity check but was a FIFA creation that had been included in the FAZ constitution by the membership.
“FIFA has set a standard and it is very clear. It says if you have been banned by FIFA regardless of the ban as long as you have been banned by FIFA, you automatically fail the integrity test. How do I come in? I am not FIFA to be banning,” he said.
“Just this week, we had an announcement from FIFA where they have banned the CAF president (Ahmad) for five years. Every so often FIFA is taking decisions to ban whoever they think has violated the statutes of FIFA.”
Kamanga further said, “Whoever is banned has got the recourse, you can go to the Court of Arbitration in Sport you can fight your way. I do not even sit in the committee which conducts that test. I am a member of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee. I also had to undergo the integrity test by a different body within FIFA. These are faceless bodies; all they want to look at is tick off the boxes.”
He said that members that were unhappy with an integrity check could submit an agenda item at the Annual General Meeting but wondered whether FIFA Could entertain such a move.
“The same questionnaire which FIFA uses is the same one which is in the FAZ statutes. Not even one amendment, it is not even a FAZ document it is a FIFA document in the FAZ constitution. Whoever has an issue with that should raise it with FIFA,” he said.
“In fact what I would like to see is that if the members of FAZ feel that this integrity test is short changing some members, every year we go to the FAZ council, they can go and propose for the removal of that integrity test in the FAZ constitution. Whether FIFA will accept or not that is not for me to say.”
On the FAZ elective congress, Kamanga said the football family was waiting for FIFA to guide.
“FIFA heard from the aggrieved parties; we also stated our case. Our issue as far as we are concerned, there were issues around the constitution, the electoral code, and the elections. But the elections were being handled independently, there is an electoral committee. For the first time we have drawn four members of the electoral committee because FAZ has no experience to run elections,” he said.
“These (ECZ) are experts in elections. So, the FAZ electoral committee consists of a chairman and four ECZ members. The Appeals Committee was also drawn from professional bodies Institute of Arbitrators, Law Association Zambia and the Chartered Institute of Accountants.”
He added: “We asked these institutions to recommend individuals so there is a three-man committee which is superintending appeals arising from the electoral process. Everything has been done in conformity with FAZ statutes.”
Kamanga said FIFA had approved the FAZ elections roadmap from inception.
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