Nigeria’s Super Falconets are scheduled to play against Zambia today in what is supposed to be one of the two last Group B matches of the women’s football event of the African Games.
But the match will not hold as the Zambians have withdrawn. The Zambians have explained that they were forced to withdraw owing to visa issues.
The Zambia Football Federation reportedly explained that they were requested to provide visa letters.
Zambia, along with Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa are drawn in Group B. The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) revealed that its under-20 women’s team had initially been due to travel from South Africa to Morocco, but were requested to secure visa letters to enter Morocco.
According to FAZ secretary general Adrian Kashala, the team were rerouted via Lusaka, however 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,” a FAZ 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.
“The team arrived from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on August 13 and failed to proceed to Morocco on the same day due to the non-availability of the visa letters.
“The FAZ wishes the public to take note of the fact that despite every effort made and the huge costs incurred in securing tickets for the team, it was not logistically feasible for the Under 20 women’s team to arrive in Morocco in time to participate in the competition and hence the painful decision to call off the trip.
“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.”
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.
Zambia’s withdrawal from the women’s tournament at the African Games has led to Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa being given walkovers in the fixtures.
The top two teams will progress to the semi-finals of the competition.
Hosts Morocco are competing in Group A with Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Mali.