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THe Zambian government has put an “attractive package” on the table for the national soccer team to take if it retains the African Cup of Nations.

Zambia is in Group C with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria and the country’s Minister of Sports and Youth Chishimba Kambwili said Nigeria’s offer of US$100,000 each to the Super Eagles players is a sign of panic.

Nigerian players have been promised US$100,000 (about N1.6m)) each if they win the championship slated for January 19 to February 10 in South Africa. This is the same amount the Zambian government gave the Chipolopolo players for winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

“The stage has been set for our team and I can assure the nation that the players have been given good bonuses. For Nigeria, they are just playing mind games with the money strategy because they are scared,” he said.

Kambwili said the government is confident the championship will return to Zambia and the players will get the “cash bonanza”, whose value he declined to state.

He also disclosed that through the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), the players have already been told the monetary gain if they win.

He however stated that Zambia would not make public what each player would get because the government and FAZ do not want to put undue pressure on the team.

Kambwili is confident that Zambia will retain the Africa Cup.

He said he sees no reason why the Chipolopolo cannot follow in the footsteps of Egypt who won the Africa Cup in 2006, 2008 and 2010, Cameroon who won it back-to-back in 2000 and 2002 and Ghana who were champions in 1963 and 1965.

“Our expectations are high and we do not expect anything short of retaining the title. What can stop us if Egypt managed?” Kambwili asked.

The Chipolopolo boys who will be based in Nelspruit will play their opening game on January 21 against Ethiopia.
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