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Lusaka, June 13, 2024 — This morning, State House was abuzz with excitement as President Hakainde Hichilema welcomed FIFA President Gianni Infantino and his delegation. The meeting underscored Zambia’s growing role in the global football community and laid the groundwork for future developments in the sport.


President Hichilema expressed heartfelt gratitude to FIFA for its extensive contributions to global sports. He highlighted the impact of FIFA’s investment and leadership, enabling countries like Zambia to actively participate and thrive in the international sports arena. “Football is more than a game; it’s a cornerstone of sport, health, and business,” Hichilema remarked, noting how successful footballers have reinvested their earnings into building clinics and schools.


Urging FIFA and the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to enhance business training for footballers, Hichilema emphasized the importance of teaching athletes to manage their finances wisely. He also advocated for football to lead by example in resolving conflicts through dialogue rather than litigation, reflecting the sport’s inherent teamwork ethos.


The President encouraged ongoing positive engagement between FAZ and the government, facilitated by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Art. He praised FIFA’s technological advancements in the sport and looked forward to further innovations.


A major highlight of the meeting was the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FAZ and the government to establish a state-of-the-art technical training center in Chongwe district. The government has allocated 80 hectares of land for this ambitious project, which will feature football pitches, accommodation facilities, a new FAZ headquarters, and a center of excellence.


FIFA President Infantino commended President Hichilema for his unwavering support of Zambian football teams, particularly praising the Copper Queens for putting Zambia in the global spotlight. “Football unites the world, and Zambia’s rich football history is truly commendable,” Infantino stated.


This meeting marks a significant step towards strengthening Zambia’s position in the global football community, promising exciting developments and enhanced cooperation between local and international football bodies.

Curtis Slimar
Author: Curtis Slimar

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