posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com
THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has said it will offer national team players attractive incentives to spur them to win the coveted Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy next year at the finals being jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
This follows reports that Zambia’s first opponents at the January 21 to February 12, 2012 AFCON finals, Senegal have promised US$90,000 per player if they lift the trophy.
FAZ communications manager, Erick Mwanza said the Zambian figures would match what the Senegalese authorities were dangling to the Teranga Lions to ensure the Chipolopolo delivered for the nation.
Zambia is in Group A with Senegal, Libya and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea.
Mwanza said in Lusaka yesterday that the local football authority understood the significance of adequately motivating the players and that FAZ, government and other cooperating partners were already looking into the matter.
He, however, declined to divulge the figures pending finalisation of the amounts involved, saying the Chipolopolo would have everything they need at their disposal including adequate resources to compete from the group stage to the final.
“We understand the significance of adequately motivating players. FAZ, Government and partners are already looking at that. Our players will have everything they need from adequate resources to compete from the group stages to the final,” Mwanza promised.
He said at the 2010 AFCON finals in Angola, the Chipolopolo’s allowances and rates were as competitive and that the same would apply next year.
At the last continental championship, the players were offered $4,000 for the group stage, $6,000 for the quarterfinals and they would have received $ 7 000 had they reached the semi-final, while $10,000 was staked for the final.
In Senegal’s case for next year’s tournament, $90,000 would translate into $6,000 for participation, $14,000 as bonus for the quarterfinals, $10,000 for the semis, $24,000 as finalists and $40,000 for the title.
According to Supersport.com, the Senegalese Football Federation said the amount was meant to motivate the players to reach and final of tournament and probably lift the trophy.
Senegal crushed Guinea 4-1 on Saturday in a friendly in France.
Another friendly match for the Teranga Lions scheduled for Tuesday November 15 against Ivory Coast was cancelled following problems with flight connections by the Elephants.
Senegal, like Zambia, is yet to reach the lift the AFCON trophy. They reached the final in 2002 but were overcome by Cameroon on 3-2 on penalties.
Zambia will face Senegal in the opening Group A match on January 21 in Equatorial Guinea city of Bata before playing Libya four days later and wrap up the group phase with a tie against the co-hosts in Malabo.
And Chipolopolo skipper, Christopher Katongo said Zambia had the skill and a good coach, Herve Renard to go all the way at the 2012 AFCON finals.
Asked by Supersport.com about how far Zambia can go, Katongo said:”We have the skill and a good coach so only we can stop ourselves.”
He, however, said on paper Ghana and Ivory Coast were favourites at next year’s tournament.
Striker Collins Mbesuma told Supersport.com that Zambia was capable of reaching the final having already done so in 1974 and 1994.
Mbesuma described Group A as tough and that the Senegalese have a young team with Demba Ba being in great form and also the home team, Equatorial Guinea and Libya, whom he said the Chipolopolo knew well after facing them in the qualifiers.
Zambia lost the first preparatory game for next year’s championship on Tuesday, falling 0-2 to Nigeria in Kaduna.