Zambia has shown African solidarity by coming to the rescue and volunteered to host the CAF U-17 tournament that was cancelled on the eve of kick-off in Morocco.
Morocco announced on march 8, two days before the tournament was supposed to have kicked off, that the 12 nation youth festival would be cancelled due to Covid-19 considerations.
Hosts Morocco, Uganda, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Tanzania, Algeria, Congo, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali and South Africa had qualified for the biennial youth showpiece.
Zambia, Cameroon, Mali and Tanzania are some of the countries known to have already arrived in Morocco and questions are hanging in the air regarding how they would be compensated for the financial losses they had already incurred.
On the day that the tournament was due to get underway (March 10), Zambia came forward in an attempt to save the image of African football by volunteering to host the event.
But in a letter addressed to CAF, Zambia offers to host the tournament in an attempt to lift the spirit of the groups of youngsters that had their dreams crushed by the sudden cancellation as they had all been looking forward to pitting their skills against their peers.
“Following the cancelation of the U-17 tournament in Morocco,” reads the letter from the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Secretary General Adrian Kashala, “we wish to express our interest to fill the gap created by hosting the event in Zambia on dates to be approved by CAF.
“We firmly believe that we shall be up to the task drawing our strength from having successfully hosted the Cosafa U-20 tournament in 2017 and the Cosafa tournament in 2019. We submit for your consideration and additional guidance as may be required.”
It would be a welcome relief indeed if the Zambians were given the opportunity to host this event that introduces the majority of African kids to international football tournaments.