The players will be entitled to $3,000 (K50, 744) win-bonus in the group stages of the competition, $3,500 for a win in the quarterfinals, $4,000 for the semi finals and $5,000 for a win in the finals of the continental showpiece.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga announced at a Copper Queens send-off dinner held at Southern Sun hotel that the bonuses were as a result of the new partnership that the New Dawn administration has spearheaded with FAZ that also includes support to women football.
“If you succeed from the beginning to the end, each one of you will be guaranteed $21,500 as a minimum. This has never happened before but we are happy that government has finally recognised the importance of women football. We are going to this tournament with a lot of motivation and we urge the team to repay the support that has been promised through good results,” Kamanga said.
“Despite the pledge to meet the costs of camping expenses prior to commencement of the tournament, the team is travelling without the pledged funding for the camp, it remains our hope that the Ministry will quickly come to our aid as you have previously announced a package of K22m for the camping and tournament expenses.”
Kamanga said the FAZ executive had no doubt that the players are motivated enough to represent the country well. He also told the players that the $1,000 winning bonus for AWCON qualification will be paid today (Wednesday).
“Remember you are carrying the hopes of 18 million Zambians and you will not be alone, you did us proud by qualifying to the Olympics and now the AWCON and it remains our target that we may qualify to the World Cup for the first time, as long as you get to the semi-finals then we are guaranteed a first-time appearance at the Women’s World Cup,” Kamanga said.
And Sports permanent secretary Kangwa Chileshe explained the delay in paying the $1,000 to the players and said the motivation for the Copper Queens is part of the youth empowerment programmes that the ministry had set up in the sports space.
“We have sometime little bottlenecks here and there but you should be rest assured that you have a leadership that is working tirelessly and sleeplessly to ensure that things are efficient and effective so that when you go out there and playing the game, you should not be worrying about mealie-meal, electricity or anything back home, your focus should be on the game because everything is taken care off,” Chileshe said.
“Our current Sport Policy promotes gender inclusiveness in sport and we have since seen a steady increase in women and sport activities at all levels in Zambia, my Ministry will work tirelessly to ensure sport is cemented as a lifelong career and industry in Zambia, this will ensure reduced unemployment and poverty.”
“We just want to appreciate you for the support you have been giving us and the support you are about to give us,” Copper Queens midfielder Ireen Lungu said in a vote of thanks.
The team is this afternoon expected to leave for Morocco for a series of friendlies ahead of the July 2-23 tournament where the Copper Queens have been placed in Group B alongside Cameroon, Tunisia and Togo.
The Top four teams at the AWCON will qualify to the World Cup that will be held in Australia and New Zealand next year. Two more teams will be involved in play-offs with teams from other continents.