12th African Games: Falconets Group Opponents Zambia Blame Visa Delay For Withdrawal

Nigeria’s Group B opponents, Zambia, were forced to withdraw from the women’s football event at the 2019 African Games in Morocco after being requested to provide visa letters according to the Football Association of Zambia.

The country’s U20 women’s side had been due to participate in the eight-team event and were drawn in Group B alongside Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa.

The Falconets had been scheduled to play the Zambians today, 24 August but their no show, however, meant that Nigeria together with the other teams in the group have been awarded walkovers.

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) say it had planned to convey the U20 women’s team from South Africa to Morocco but were requested to secure visa letters to enter the North African country.

Adrian Kashala, the FAZ secretary-general said in a statement that the team were rerouted via Lusaka, but it became clear the visas would not be secured in time to participate at the event.

“Due to the lengthy procedure in securing the visa letters, the team remained in camp for additional days and several adjustments to flight schedules were made to avoid a no-show situation for a second time,” the statement read.

“As the visa letters were being processed, it became clear that the full team would not be able to travel to Morocco in time for them to meet competition fixtures due to non-availability of seats on flights.

“The association has since decided to call off the trip to the All Africa Games on account of time and lack of space,” parts of the statement read.

“The FAZ regrets that Zambia will not be represented in the women’s football category but remain committed to promoting women’s football and commend the Under 20 Women’s team for their solidarity in this time,” it concluded.

The organisation added it is looking forward to its senior women’s team competing in the second round of Olympic qualification matches.

Zambia will face Zimbabwe over two legs, with the first to take place on August 28, before the away trip on September 3.