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By Confidence Musariri

Windhoek. — The Zambia Football Association (FAZ) this week plans to file an official complaint to the Confederation African Football (CAF) over Namibia’s handling of their Under-17 national team ahead of today’s 2009 African Championship qualifier.

Visiting head of delegation (HOD) Keegan Chipando confirmed that FAZ would send a strongly-worded letter to Namibia Football Association (NFA) before complaining to CAF.

A 27-member Zambian delegation arrived in Windhoek on Wednesday night for the second leg of their match following their nil-all draw in Lusaka last week. The delegation had to sleep inside their bus after Namibian authorities “switched off their phones and did not second anyone from their association to host us,” said Chipando.

Initially, the team had been booked to stay 15km outside Windhoek at the Grieters Lodge but they refused the accommodation saying it was sub-standard.

“It was like a house which they called a hotel and our bus could not even fit for parking. So we had to drive back into the capital to try and rearrange the whole thing. In Lusaka, we hosted them in a three-star hotel which was being used by our senior national team ahead of the Togo 2010 World Cup qualifier.

“In fact, we removed Chipolopolo from that hotel so that our guests would feel at home,” said Chipando.

He blamed NFA secretary general Barry Rukoro, host team manager Jacks Amaning and NFA president John Muinjo for allegedly switching off their phones when “we told them we were coming to meet them in the capital for better accommodation”.

“And that was past ten midnight,” he added.

By midnight, no NFA official had turned up at their rendezvous and the visitors, who had driven from Lusaka for 24 hours, called the Namibian Deputy Minister of Sports, Pohamba Shifeta, and approached their High Commissioner Marvis Mungunda or assistance.

“Rukoro only called me around 2am when the minister had intervened and he tried to intimidate me, but I told him off. What he does not know is that Namibia can be disqualified from this competition for poor hospitality,” said Chipando.

The two teams clash today at the Khomasdhal Stadium after an exciting first leg draw watched by over 10 000 fans in Lusaka’s Woodlands Arena.

The winner will face either South Africa or Malawi in the last round.

Malawi beat South Africa away two weeks ago and carries a slender lead in the return leg in Lilongwe this weekend.

The African Championships will be held between March 19 and April 3 in Algeria next year.

At that time of the hour nothing could be done regarding the visitors’ accommodation despite frantic efforts by the Minister and the High Commission and the team ended up sleeping in their bus outside the High Commissioner’s residence.

Now Zambia is preparing a damning document to CAF, part of which reads that Namibia sought to deflate Zambian morale ahead of the winner-take all clash.

The visitors only got decent accommodation and a meal late Thursday afternoon when the NFA finally responded and moved the visitors into the four-star Kalahari Sands Hotel, in the heart of Windhoek.

“This is a tactical ploy to demoralise our boys because they won’t have time to train now and we might go into the match with very tired players. We wonder how Namibia wants to play a role in 2010 when it cannot even host its neighbours.

“This is the kind of treatment one would expect in Guinea or Sierra Leone not Namibia for God’s sake,” said Daniel Jere, Zambian team manager.

Namibian Under 17 team manager Jacks Amaning said there had been a slight communication problem as almost all the Windhoek hotels had been fully booked in advance.

Source: Southern Times

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