GOVERNMENT’S fundraising drive for a new Chipolopolo expatriate coach has suffered a major blow after mining giants, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), declared that they have no money to splash towards the cause.
As if that is not enough, some of the receptive mining companies and corporate entities approached have indicated that they can only start helping out in January next year.
With the current state of affairs, Zambia is likely to play the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers with George Lwandamina fully in charge, contrary to FAZ and Government’s recent pronouncements.
Sports Minister Vincent Mwale said in an interview at the weekend that KCM had just responded to the Government’s request, stating that they would not take part in the financing of the salary for the national coach.
“KCM just responded to us that they cannot finance the salary for the coach while other mining companies and corporate entities are just either quiet or saying that maybe they can join-in in January next year,” he said.
The withdrawal by KCM comes as a major setback as the mining firm has been one of the Government’s most reliable partners, having financed the previous foreign coach’s payments and gave FAZ three vehicles.
KCM have also previously sponsored the Zambian league and bankrolls two Super League sides, Nchanga Rangers and Konkola Blades, as well as Division One South side, Nampundwe.
Mwale admitted that the Government was in a difficult position over engaging of the coach because the usual partners were non-committal.
“Most companies have their financial year starting in January and then we are going to them in the middle of the year asking for a lot of money to the tune of US$25,000 per month, but we can’t force them, so all we have to do is wait.
“It’s quite tricky for us, we are trying hard and I am not sleeping over this. We have a commitment from one company for $6,000 but they can only start in January. One more company has also said maybe they can help out in a small way but also starting in January,” he said.
As a result of the predicament, Mwale said the Government was considering combining the pledges in order to meet the $25,000 budget per month.
Mwale revealed that FAZ had indicated that they wanted to give the coach a two-and-a-half-year contract which would run up to the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup.
FAZ also announced last week that it had finished the selection process and that a name was ready and just waiting for the Government to finance the salary.
While expressing optimism that money will be found before Zambia’s next AFCON qualifier against Kenya in three weeks’ time, Mwale said the Government treasury was an option although the thought itself was too tough to ask.
“As you are aware, the treasury gave out a lot of money to pay off Dario Bonetti. So it would be difficult to convince the Ministry of Finance to give us more money. But I am quite hopeful something will come up pretty soon,” he said.
Times of Zambia