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Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 15:47 UK

Zambia stadium gets Fifa go-ahead

By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport, Lusaka

Zambia coach Herve Renard
Herve Renard will lead Chipolopolo at the Konkola Stadium

Zambia's Konkola stadium has been approved as the venue for Chipolopolo's home World Cup qualifiers.

Inspectors from football's world governing body Fifa visited the stadium earlier this month.

They were checking rehabilitation work which the federation ordered after 12 fans died in a stampede last June.

Fifa's announcement is a relief to Zambia, who otherwise would have had to play their home games in a neighbouring country.

The Independence stadium, the country's biggest venue, remains closed for renovations.

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, in a letter addressed to Football Association of Zambia (Faz) president Kalusha Bwalya, said Konkola stadium has met the organization's requirements.

"We are pleased to inform you that...we authorize the preliminary competition matches for the 2010 Fifa World Cup Africa to take place at the aforementioned facility," the letter said.

"We...at the same time appeal for the completion of the stadium works."

Valcke said match commissioners appointed to officiate Zambia's home matches will be required to report on ongoing works at Konkola, which is in the country's northern Copperbelt region.

Faz general secretary George Kasengele expressed happiness at Fifa's decision.

"We are extremely delighted that Fifa has come to our aid by approving the use of Konkola stadium," he said.

"Had it been the other way, it would have meant that we play our home matches away and that would not have been in the interest of the nation."

Zambia have been drawn against Togo and Swaziland in the preliminary qualifying rounds of the 2010 World and Nations Cups.

Sierra Leone and DR Congo are amongst those countries waiting to hear if Fifa will approve their stadiums for use in the qualifiers.


see also
Zambia stadium hits cement snag
14 Apr 08 |  African
Zambia in host stadium turmoil
19 Nov 07 |  African
Zambia stadium in World Cup race
11 Nov 07 |  African
Zambia stadium 'unfit' for games
18 Oct 07 |  African


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