FAZ president Andrew Kamanga has filed his nomination for the March 2021 FIFA elections as one of the aspiring executive committee members for the English-speaking block.
Kamanga says his decision has received the requisite government endorsement and FAZ executive committee.
The FAZ chief joins six other candidates in the race that is yet to see the sieving process that includes the integrity test commence.
“I was approached by some colleagues within football who were of the view that I may add value at the FIFA executive committee level. Once that had been done, I did seek the authorization of the minister of sports and he gave the go ahead, there was no objection, and the executive was duly notified,” Kamanga says.
“Most importantly it is good that Zambia is competing at an international level.”
The slots for Africa on the FIFA executive committee have an automatic one for the CAF president who automatically becomes the FIFA vice president and another for a female candidate. The remaining six slots for CAF are divided into language blocks, broken down as English, Arabic and French. Each has two slots for candidates to vie for.
Kamanga says his credentials as a member of the of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee, Cosafa Finance Committee and a member of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) organizing committee set him in good stead to add value to the FIFA executive committee.
“In my case I think I am happy that I am taking this path, as you are aware, outside being FAZ president I am also serving in the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee where I was elected by the FIFA Congress in May 2017 and I am the only one from Africa,” he says.
“The work that I have done in the Audit Committee speaks for itself. I think my colleagues from FIFA and elsewhere can attest to that and I see that going forward I could add value to the FIFA Council because ultimately this is about football development.”
He adds: “If you look at the work that we do in the Audit and Compliance Committee it is our committee which is instrumental in ensuring that the FIFA Forward funding is administered in the way that the guidelines would expect. So, there is strict adherence to the procedures when it comes to the funds that FIFA disburses including the recently announced Covid-19 relief packages where each member association has been given a grant of USD 1.5 million.”
Kamanga, who is Chartered accountant, energy consultant and business mogul says, his professional credentials will help add value to the FIFA set up.
“When it comes to professional experience I think I fit very much to be able to contribute because as you know I am a Chartered accountant, I have a masters in energy, environment and technology, I also have many years of management experience, I have served as Finance Director in the private sector, I have also served as director in the public sector. I have also been running my private businesses in the last 20 years,” he says.
Kamanga says he is hopeful that Zambia will be given an opportunity to serve in FIFA at an executive committee level.
“I hope that I will give it a try and it remains my conviction that this is the best time for Zambia to be represented in FIFA because we have had representation in CAF before, but we have never had a Zambian serving in FIFA. I hope that I can be that person and open the door for other Zambians to follow,” he says.
“I think at the end of the day it is the pedigree, the competition and like every election, it is the message you give to the voters.”
He adds: “We are standing on the platform of transparency, integrity and accountability because this remains the modern way of management when it comes to governance and I am already part of the governance system at FIFA by sitting on the Audit and Compliance Committee which is an independent committee.”
Kamanga says his ascendancy to FIFA will allow other Zambians take up the mantle of running the game locally.
“It will also be signal that others should also step up to run FAZ. If we have got 10 exco members from the 10 provinces and three from the national it means any one of them can become the FAZ president. It is capacity building, we have more Zambians who can be FAZ president in the new system than it was previously,” he says.
In the English speaking bracket Kamanga will compete against candidates from Malawi (Cosafa) , Nigeria, Gambia (West Africa), Kenya, Tanzania (East Africa).
The final elections will be held in March in Morocco next year.