Zambia's football chief lauds plan to host AFCON

Lusaka (Zambia), Feb 6 (IANS) The head of Zambia's football governing body Wednesday welcomed the government's decision to bid for hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.

Minister of Sports Chishimba Kambwili said the time is now ripe for Zambia to bid for the hosting of major international sporting events such as the Africa Cup following the construction of ultra-modern stadia with the help of the Chinese government, reports Xinhua.

He said plans are in the pipeline to bid for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Zambia now has an ultra-modern 40-000 stadium in Ndola city on the Copperbelt Province while a 50,000 capacity stadium is under construction in the capital here.

"It is a good idea if you look at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola and also the Lusaka Stadium, which is under construction. You can tell that we are moving in a right direction," Kalusha Bwalya, the president of the Football Association of Zambia, was quoted as saying by the Zambia Daily Mail.

The 1988 African Footballer of the Year said his association is ready to offer guidance to the government, adding that the bidding for the hosting of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations should be done this year.

"The 2015 Africa Cup will be in Morocco, 2017 is going to Libya and the 2019 is open. It will be good for us to host and I think that we are within the time," he added.

Zambia has never hosted Africa's football showpiece after failing to stage the event in 1988 and having an unsuccessful bid in 2004.

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