By James Bakama & Agencies
Zambian fans are doing everything within their means to ensure their national soccer side defends its Africa Cup of Nations title.
Reports from the Central African state show that over 200 Zambian fans will be in the Namboole stands cheering on the Chipolopolo.
The fans have been boosted by a Kenya Airways offer. The airline has given the fans a special package. Besides travel from and back to Lusaka, the arrangement also covers internal travel in Uganda and one night’s accommodation in a Kampala hotel.
Announcing the package last week, Kenya Airways’ Zambia country manager Rose Kiseli said they have reduced the flight fees.
“We have various flight options for the fans, made possible by our three daily flights departing Zambia all with connections to Nairobi-Entebbe flights,” Kiseli explained.
The package which is going for K5 million (sh2.5m) includes airport and stadium transfers from Entebbe Airport to the Mandela National Stadium at Namboole with free match tickets.
“The fans will then spend a night in Kampala at a reserved hotel and the following morning will be served with breakfast before returning home,” added Kiseli.
She said Kenya Airways is proud to be associated with the national team, having flown them to various countries across the continent in their quest for Africa and World Cup glory.
Namboole management on Friday said it was yet to decide on whether to give the Zambians a special area in the stadium.
About 70 Ugandans also travelled to Zambia to back the Cranes in the first leg that ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts.
The Cranes need to win by a two-goal margin to return to Africa’s biggest soccer competition after a 34 year absence.
The finals of Africa’s premier soccer competition will be held in South Africa next year. The country last hosted the event in 1996 and went on to lift the crown for the first time
Meanwhile, despite earlier protests to charges for Uganda Cranes-Zambia Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday, FUFA sold 300 tickets on the first day of the sale in Kampala and Jinja on Monday.
The federation’s marketing chief Sam Mpiima said they are happy with the way the public has responded to the tickets sale.
According to a survey, fans went for the ordinary tickets selling at sh40,000.
Then, in a new development, FIFA has stripped Sudan of its 2-0 win against Zambia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier because one of its scorers was ineligible to play.
The disciplinary committee of football’s world governing body ruled that Saif Ali should not have played in the 2 June game in Khartoum.
The decision followed a protest by Zambia. The Sudan football association has also been fined US$6,430.
(Additional reporting by Swalley Kenyi)