Ghana locks Zambia out of stadium before pregame training session

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Before their decisive Group D match in CAF World Cup qualifying, Ghanaian officials locked the doors to Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, forcing Zambia to hold an improvised training session in the parking lot. Reports from Africa suggest that the Zambian team arrived late for their agreed training time at the stadium.

Under FIFA regulations, the home federation must allow the away team a one-hour training session on the stadium field the day prior to a match. That time has to be agreed upon in advance and confirmed in writing.

FA Zambia spokesman O. Erick Mwanza posted photos and updates on Twitter claiming, “Ghana authorities locked Zambia outside Baba Yara and switches off the stadium lights.”

Mwanza also posted a photo he said was of forward James Chamanga being attended by team medical staff after being attacked by one of “hundreds” of fans in the parking lot:

However, Ghanaian journalist Gary Al-Smith refuted the reports, saying that Zambia arrived at the stadium far after its agreed training time.

“Professionally, Ghana officials are very right to put off floodlights bcos Zambia were hours late,” he wrote. “But, what about fair play? … Dunno why Zambians were late. They landed shortly after 2pm and could have made it in time. Not happy with FAZ’s orgztn.”

Ghana currently holds first place in the group, on 12 points, while Zambia is just one point lower. The game on Friday is the last one of the group, and only the top team in each group advances to the final round of CAF qualifying. Ghana also holds the advantage in goal difference, with a plus-14 to Zambia’s plus-8.

In the teams’ first meeting on June 9, Zambia took a 1-0 victory in Ndola on the back of a 15th-minute goal from Christopher Katongo.