THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has said there is no need to panic over the on-going unrest between Sudan and the new independent state of South Sudan saying the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier will be played in Khartoum on June 2 as scheduled.
Media and communications manager Erick Mwanza said at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the match will go ahead in Khartoum as earlier scheduled saying the capital city was free from the political unrest.
Reuters reported yesterday that weeks of border clashes have raised concerns that South Sudan and its northern neighbour could return to all-out war after failing to resolve wrangles over oil revenues, border demarcation and other issues since the south seceded last year.
The conflict has halted nearly all oil production in the region, strangling both countries' oil dependent economies.
But Mwanza said the association was on top of things and was monitoring the situation in Sudan adding that so far, there were no indications to claim that the match would not be played because Khartoum was calm.
He said the game will not be moved to another country unless the fighting reached Khartoum and it is also discovered that the safety of the players will not be guaranteed, then FAZ would seek intervention of FIFA to have the venue moved.
"So far everything is on course and the game will be played in Khartoum which is far from the fighting zones. There is no need to worry as we have continued to monitor the situation in Sudan and unless there is a change then we may be forced to have the match venue changed.
So our appeal is to the fans and members of the public to go ahead with their plans to make the necessary arrangements for the game against Sudan. We enjoy a good relationship with Sudan and there is no way they can endanger our lives," he said.
Meanwhile, FAZ has expressed happiness with the amount of work done at the new Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola and has paid tribute to Government for the effort it has put in ensuring everything was in place.
Mwanza said the association was pleased with the work done since the last check and logistics were still being worked on to have a test match at the stadium as a way of testing the facilities at site.
He appealed to fans to exercise high levels of discipline and follow the guidelines the match organising committee will put up and that the sale of alcohol will not be tolerated at the stadium.