Zambia Super League side, Napsa Stars has responded to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) over the alleged misconduct of their logistics manager Gift Chaipa and head coach Mohammed Fathi.

In a letter dated Friday, 27th March written by Napsa Stars President Greg Chola Nsofu accessed by the ZamFoot Crew, The club asked the association to separate the two cases as they have nothing to do with each other.

According to the letter from FAZ dated Tuesday, March 24th and accessed by the ZamFoot Crew, The duo (Fathi and Chaipa) were accused of displaying inappropriate conduct when they harassed and intimidated match officials during Napsa Stars 2-1 win over Green Eagles away at Independence Stadium in Choma.

While in the second case, Chaipa is being charged with unethical and disloyal conduct after he allegedly openly aided and abetted non-members of the Football Association of Zambia to take the Association to court in direct contravention of the FAZ Constitution and FIFA statutes.

“We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 24th March 2020 and wish to react accordingly.

Firstly, we note that you have mixed two (2) matters, one a matter that relates to the purported conduct of our two (2) officials during a league game and the other related to the conduct of one (1) of our officials during the election process that you have embarked on. We wish to request you to separate the two matters and pray to your office that you issue out two (2) separate communications to us for prudence purposes. This is because of the following;

• The matter of the conduct of our officials at the Choma game involves two of our staff members and the process for us to introspect has nothing to do with the other matter of elections.

• The matter that relates to the elections is of a personal nature because our staff member involved in the process is doing so in his personal capacity and therefore, it has nothing to do with either the coach or the club.”

Nsofu has also expressed displeasure with the current standard of officiating in the country.

He believes the bad officiating maybe as a result of them having nominated a different candidate for the FAZ Presidential elections.

“Notwithstanding the above, we wish to make observations which we consider very seriously and hope we will engage with you on these issues further.

We have observed that the officiating standards from some referees have become shockingly low that we sought an audience with the Football Association of Zambia Secretary-General and raised the concern with him. Fortunately, he happened to have been at the game we referred to at the time and he agreed with our submissions. The trend appears to have worsened, incidentally, during the election process. We could not help but assume that the bad officiating against us is as a result of us having nominated a candidate that is challenging the current establishment. However, we are comforted by the fact that you are educated individuals that understand that this is a national sport and the reason we will have an election is to listen to other views as well.”

Nsofu added “For the record, if the candidate we nominated was nominated by some other club, we would have definitely proceeded to nominate another candidate to make sure that the election process gives the electorates a variety of options to consider. This is the essence of elections; we cannot be adopting a war posture whenever others express interest to stand for certain positions. So, we think it would be childish for anyone to hold it against us for making our nomination and we believe this is not the case with yourselves.”

Nsofu revealed that the club launched a complaint against the match officials of the said match and went on to ask FAZ to first dispose of that case before charging Fathi and Chaipa.

Nsofu believes them is sufficient evidence to establish that Napsa Stars are being given match officials who have been briefed to work against the club and has asked the Association to assure them otherwise.

“Further, shortly after the game you have referred to in your letter, we submitted a complaint, again relating to very poor officiating, and provided video evidence for your action. You have not bothered to even opine on the complaint and yet you proceeded to charge our staff, presumably relating to the way the protestation was done at the same game.

Football Association of Zambia is our institution all of us and we too should be protected, we, therefore, request that before our staff should be charged that you first dispose of our complaint in a professional manner. There appears to be prima facie evidence that a selected cohort of officials has had a very distasteful briefing to misbehave on duty and until you dispel such innuendos, we will remain entitled to hold that view. So please assure us that such erring match officials are chided and if need be, excused from officiating so that they don’t bring the game into disrepute.”

The Napsa Stars President holds the view that the whole thing is about elections and not the match in Choma. He feels the issue of Chaipa’s alleged unethical and disloyal conduct is of a personal nature and does not involve the club who doesn’t want to be drawn in the issues surrounding elections.

“Lastly, even though you are alluding to the game in Choma in your letter, our view is that the real issue is something else. Our video footage clearly shows that Mohammed Fathi was actually seen brokering peace and therefore, we strongly believe that he has wrongly been fingered. We can make this video available if you need it. So, we are perplexed at what has informed your decision and humbly request that you withdraw the charge against him.

However, we strongly believe that the key issue in your letter is related to the elections and nothing else. Considering that the Club is not involved in that process, the matter can be taken up with the officer in his personal capacity. Nonetheless, we remain resolute that it is his constitutional right to participate in the election process. If it so happens that the side, he is supporting is supported by the said persona non grata as well, it does not mean that he has “maintained a relationship of a sporting nature” with the said individuals. In professional businesses such as the business of football, relationships are governed by written agreements/contracts, and we are not aware of the existence of any such documents between Mr. Chaipa and the said individuals.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, we are acutely aware that there are active matters in the courts of law involving the Football Association of Zambia officials to which Mr. Chaipa is an interested party and we think addressing such a matter at this stage might be subjudice.

Therefore, NAPSA Stars Football Club does not wish to be drawn into this matter, in particular, going forward and the elections process in general. We implore you to consider the matters we have raised favorably, and we look forward to your response.”

(ZamFoot Crew)

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