Govt seeks sports technical assistance from Cuba

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—Government has requested for sports technical assistance from Cuba with the aim of addressing the dwindling standards of various sports disciplines in Zambia.

Minister of Youth and Sport, Chishimba Kambwili, said the Zambian government urgently needs a sport scientist, performance coach in boxing, volleyball coaches and an athletics coach.

Kambwili said the current administration of President Michael Sata was fully committed to improving sports disciplines through engaging specialists in various fields of sport.

He was speaking in Havan, Cuba, today when he met officials at Cuba Sport Centre.

He said the sport scientist will operate from the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) where he will provide support to national team coaches, establish core group of Zambians in sport science, and work closely with other support staff and services, including physiotherapists, to provide an integrated approach to performance enhancement.

He said the specialist will also provide in-service training to coaches and will be operating from the OYDC.

The minister said the performance coach in boxing will be responsible for planning and coordinating training programmes for national boxers and for planning and conducting effective nation-wide talent identification and development programmes for boxers in different age categories.

“This performance coach will also be required to deliver basic training for local coaches and develop pathways for boxers of different age groups,” he added.

He noted that currently, Zambia boasts of two female boxers that are holding world champion titles but quickly pointed out that more needed to be done in this area.

Kambwili further said Zambia needed to improve the sport of volleyball, hence the call for technical assistance in this area.

He explained that the volleyball coach is required to plan and coordinate training programmes for volleyball players and conducting effective talent identification in the whole country and to develop a programme for athletes of different age groups.

On the athletics coach, Kambwili pointed out that this specialist’s responsibilities will be similar to those of other specialists but in the field of athletics.

He said the athletics coach will be operating from the National Sports Council of Zambia.

And Kambwili has requested the Cuban government to provide scholarships for Zambian coaches, teachers and sports administrators in order to enhance sports development in the country.

The minister said government would ensure that all sports associations and federations carefully consider curriculum vitae of all coaches and specialists that will be sent to Zambia before engaging them in employment.

He was pleased that Cuba has shown great technical know-how in sports development, hence his government’s decision to consider the country to provide trainers in sport.

Meanwhile, Director General of Cuba Sport, Carlos Rodriguez Acosta, said his country will provide Zambia with the requested technical persons in the said fields of sport.

Acosta said Cuba will select academic coaches who will also provide psychological direction and physical therapy to players and athletes in the said disciplines of sport.

He said Cuba has exported a lot of coaches in diverse fields of sport to Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Spain, Italy and many other countries in the world whose sports credentials were internationally acclaimed.

He, however, appealed for humane treatment to the Cuban coaches and specialists that would be sent to Zambia so that they deliver according to their abilities and expertise.

And Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Agnes Musunga, said in future, government would engage specialists in judo, basketball, community sports recreation and other disciplines.

Earlier, National Sports Council of Zambia chairperson, Chifumu Banda, said Zambia will also need coaches in martial arts such as karate and taekwondo.

The minister and his delegation are in Cuba to have a detailed understanding of that country’s success in various fields of sport before revitalizing a sports agreement that was signed with Zambia in 2007.