Football Association of Zambia writer Mutheliso Phiri has perhaps innocently let the cat out of the bag in the behind the scene blame game between the country’s governing body and Chishimba Kambwili’s Ministry of Sport over the embarrassing travel arrangement for Zambia’s World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
Contributing on his facebook page Wednesday after Chipolopolo were marooned at the airport for over four hours and later made to abort the trip after Ghana authorities maintained that the airport’s night operations were closed for renovation, Mutheliso said government should take the blame.
Mutheliso exonerated Ghana whom some FAZ officials were blaming as applying mind games to block Chipolopolo from arriving on time and derail the 2012 champions’ mission in Kumasi. However, Ghana’s process of renovating Kumasi Airport has been on-going for over a year.
“Ghana is not playing mind games with Zambia as far as travel arrangements are concerned,” Mutheliso stated before adding;
“The Zambian government is responsible for the national team’s travel and were responsible for the charter of the plane to Kumasi.
“I got concerned this morning when I learnt that the Chipolopolo arrived after midnight from South Africa and went for training as early as 07:30hrs this morning.
“Firstly, the team got to OR Tambo International Airport at midday on Tuesday and flew out to Lusaka at 21:30hrs.
“As if that was not enough, the same thing has happened here all because someone did not do his kob properly at the Ministry of Youth and Sport. As an avid fan of the Chipolopolo am not happy at the turn of events.
“Secondly, this whole trip has been politicized. Traditional chiefs have been given priority over soccer fans. Political party cadres have taken space meant for genuine soccer fans. When we watch on TV and do not see anyone singing Chipolopolo songs at Baba Yara Stadium we will know why that we be the case.”
Mutheliso’s public comments may not go down well with authorities both in FAZ and government who have carefully crafted false explanations claiming that the botched travel on Wednesday was as a result of Ghana game tactics when it is clearly ineptitude at the hands of Zambians.
Zambia face Ghana at 18:00 hours on Friday in a must win encounter to secure a knockout spot for the 5 African places for the 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifiers.