Minister of Sports, Youth and Child Development Hon. Moses Mawere has stated that Zambia is committed to hosting the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations and that government will meet all financial obligations as presented to it in the budget by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ).
The Minister dismissed reports that the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations was operating on a deficit saying instead that funds were available and would be released at the appropriate time.
Zambia will host the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations from 26 February to 12 March.
“There is no deficit. The deficit can come as a result of government failing to meet certain obligations but we are still committed," said Mawere.
“The total budget which the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) gave us as government was K41million and we have already released 5million.
"We look at the urgency of the matter and right now we are in control. The bigger chunk of the budget will be used during the tournmanet. The money we released was good enough for FAZ to do some minor touches on the stadiums.
"When CAF inspectors came they raised some concerns and they have been addressed. Any funds requested by FAZ in their budget will be released at the appropriate time and I want to assure you that government can release funds overnight. Government will release the remainder at the appropriate time because most of it is meant for accommodation, food, transportation and computerization of rooms during the tournament.
"Reports that there is a deficit are very unfair to government. It will be unfair to say the Local Organising Committee is operating on a deficit. The tournament will be hosted with or without private involvement. As government we called on private people to come on board because we did not want to stop anyone with good intentions.
"As government we finance their programs because Cabinet approved that government will always support FAZ activities such as hosting tournaments, sponsoring the senior national team and all those things. For example if FAZ tell us that they have enough money on their own then government does not come in. If they say that they have a shortfall, then government has to find that money.
“Government is mandated to find money requested by FAZ. It is us who approved the bid. They came to us with a proposal to host the tournament and we approved the bid. That means we are also committed financially."