The Zambia national soccer team has failed to fly to Cape Verde for Wednesday’s Nations Cup qualifier against Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks. The Chipolopolo who were scheduled to leave this morning “stayed” at the Savoy hotel in Ndola waiting to hear news of the planned charter but nothing came to fruition.
The planned Government charter aircraft did not arrive at the earlier announced time of 10:00 which was later changed to midday and even with the newest evening time of 19:00, there was still no plane in sight at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe international airport.
A Zambian Football KICKOFF correspondent who is part of the traveling contingent was among journalists and soccer fans led by Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association chairman Yotam Mwanza who trekked to the airport early but had to wait all day and part of the evening when confirmation was made that there would be no aircraft landing on Monday to transport the national team.
“We have left the airport now. We have been told that the plane will land tomorrow between 07:00 and 08:00am. We hope the team will take off tomorrow by or before 09:00,” our correspondent said.
The delayed departure may result in Chipolopolo having no time to have a feel of the match venue and risk arriving a few hours before kickoff and would impact on an already under pressure team which bungled its opener in a poor 0-0 draw against Mozambique last Saturday.
When CAF made the draws in April, the continental mother body’s president warned and advised national federations to make advance preparations and plans for the qualifiers but Football House and government were only making flight arrangements last week with Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili announcing a few days before the match against the Mambas that they were still waiting for funding from the Ministry of Finance to pay for the charter.
No announcement was made whether the Ministry of Finance released funds or FAZ and the sports ministry are relying on well-wishers and other partners to pay for the charter.
Failure to travel and fulfill the fixture would see Zambia disqualified from the entire qualifier series.
Chipolopolo need at least a point in the crucial match against an inform Cape Verde which demolished Niger 3-1 in Niamey.