GOVERNMENT has said there will be no cash rewards for the Zambia senior women football team for their historic qualification to the 2014 African Women’s Championship (AWC) finals in Namibia.
The Shepolopolo qualified to the AWC finals for the first time in the history of Zambian women football this year.
Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili said Government would not reward the team because no money was allocated as bonus for the Shepolopolo if they qualify to the AWC finals in the 2014 National Budget.
Kambwili said earlier this year, Government had to work outside the budget when money was paid out to the Under-17 women’s team for qualifying to the FIFA 2014 Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
“Last time when we awarded the Under-17 for qualifying for the Costa Rica World Cup we worked outside the budget,” he said during a media briefing in Lusaka.
He, however, said Government runs with budgets and that it was not right to always make decisions outside the national budgets.
Kambwili said he hoped officials at his ministry would now start planning for such programmes and allocate money in case a team qualifies for an international event.
“Last time when I made a decision to award the Under-17 outside the budget and when we delayed it was in the media that Government has failed.
“Because of the behaviour of the media, my hands are tied and I don’t want to embarrass myself so the senior women’s team will not be awarded,” Kambwili said.
He said as Sports Minister, at times he had used his personal money to reward athletes who won medals at international tournaments.
“Just recently when the athletes won medals at the Africa Youth Games in Botswana, I awarded the athletes K2, 000 for bringing honour to the country,” Kambwili said.
Meanwhile, Vice-President, Guy Scott’s wife, Charlotte has challenged the Shepolopolo to focus on lifting the AWC trophy in October.
Addressing the players after a training session yesterday at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, Scott said she was confident that the Namibia expedition would be successful for Zambia.
“ I checked on the calender, the date of the final match which is October 25 has great significance as it comes after the Independence Jubilee celebrations. The day has our names written on it and therefore, you should win the Cup and qualify to the World Cup. I am proud of you and confident that you will bring honour to the nation,” Scott, who is patron for women football, said.
She encouraged the players to combine education and sports as football alone was not adequate to cater for their future.
Football Association of Zambia technical director, Honour Janza said the Shepolopolo were not scared of facing any team in Namibia but would head into Windhoek as competitors.
Janza said the technical bench together with the players were ready to work with the American expert Josh Kalkstein and tap the knowledge needed to prepare them for the AWC finals.
Shepolopolo coach Charles Bwale said Mary Wilombe joined the team in training yesterday morning, raising the number of players in camp to 18 and more players in camp later in the day.
The Shepolopolo were drawn in Group A where they will compete against six-time champions, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and hosts, Namibia at the AWC finals set for October 11-25.
Times of Zambia