FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has welcomed Government's plan to bid for the hosting of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, saying the nation has what it takes to stage such an event.
Kalusha said from South Africa yesterday that the bid needed to be done six years before the tournament is held and that he was confident that Zambia had what it took to stage such a tournament.
The Confederations of African Football (CAF) executive committee member said Zambia had enough time to make a persuasive and convincing bid, adding that it would be a great honour for the people to make their dream come alive.
"It a good move, totally welcomed and yes we can do it considering that we have enough time to put up a persuasive and convincing bid. We have what it takes to make this dream come true and it will be great for the people of Zambia. Zambia is a footballing nation," he said.
Zambia Football Coaches Association (ZAFCA) president, Patrick Kangwa, has described the development as a welcome move which he said was expected to receive a lot of support from Zambians.
"The plan is welcome. As the minister has rightly put it, we have made headway in the construction of stadia and also in the actual competition itself having won the tournament away from home in Gabon in 2012," Kangwa said.
The ZAFCA president said it would be an added advantage for Zambia to host the 2019 edition after Morocco in 2015 and Libya in 2017 because it would give Chipolopolo an edge to win the tournament.
And Referees Association of Zambia (RAZ) president Welly Chikuka said Zambia's bid to host the 2019 AFCON edition was a welcome move as it would help the country improve on infrastructure development.
"This is a good move and we should make sure that we have atleast two to three stadia by 2016 should the bid go through. That will show the continent how serious we are because we need to put certain things in place once the bid goes through as every country expects the best from a host nation," he said.
Chikuka said it would also be a marvellous moment for Zambia to host a prestigious tournament of that magnitude because it was only South Africa and Angola in the Southern region that hosted that kind of competition.
He, however, said the preparations of hosting should not be for the Football Association of Zambia and Government alone, but all Zambians so that the event was a success.
Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) chairperson Yotam Mwanza also welcomed the move to host the AFCON finals, saying it was long overdue as Zambia needed to host the continent's prestigious competition being a powerhouse in Africa and still current champions.
"Our curriculum vitae is incomplete without hosting the AFCON tournament. As CSFA, we applaud the minister for the move and we urge Cabinet to approve the bid and further more salute Government for sending architects and personnel from the ministries of Works and Sport to South Africa to observe firsthand how countries host such a tournament," he said.
Zambia Soccer Fans Association (ZSFA) chairperson Peter Makembo said in an interview from Johannesburg that the move was welcome as it would help in the development of the sport in the country.
"We have for a long time been longing to host the AFCON tournament and we welcome Minister Chishimba Kambwili's move to take the matter before Cabinet for approval. I am sure that our Government will not let its fans down as they demonstrated their commitment to sport by ensuring that we hosted the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games," he said.