A preparatory camp for the Zambia national soccer team has been identified should the Chipolopolo boys qualify to the 2014 world cup tournament in Brazil.
Youth and Sport minister Chishimba Kambwili said the national soccer team will camp in Cuba before going to Brazil should it qualify for the world cup championships next year.
Kambwili said this in Havana, Cuba yesterday when he visited the Mario Lopez Alfonso national football school on his continued bilateral visit to that country.
Kambwili described the Mario Lopez Alfonso national football school as the best place for the Chipolopolo team to camp at.
This is because the football school is designed to offer expertise in sport psychology, technical and physical preparation to players in readiness for competitive tournaments such as the world cup.
“Should we qualify to the world cup next year, we will send our national team to come and camp here and interact with football scientists and psychologists. Cuba is near to Brazil so they will camp here to acclimatize,” he said.
Kambwili disclosed that his visit to Cuba was an eye-opener to government in terms of sports management and development.
He observed that Zambia’s dismal performance at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) championships in South Africa was largely due to lack of psychological fitness on the part of players and not the lack of talent.
The minister noted that Zambia has a lot of talent in football hence making it a great foot-balling nation.
Kambwili however said there was need to combine talent with academic knowledge of football in order for the country to match European and South America standards .
He further said football should be integrated as a subject in Zambia’s education system so as to produce great footballers in the country.
Kambwili said there was also need for the national teams to start preparing well before a tournament, a strategy adopted by Cuba.
Kambwili, his Permanent Secretary Agnes Musunga, National sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) chairman Chifumu Banda, parliamentary committee on youth affairs and sport chairperson Levy Ngoma and other senior government officials are in Cuba to visit sport training schools and learn about its management.
They were invited by the Cuba Institute of Sports and Recreation to revitalize the sport cooperation agreement which Zambia and Cuba signed in 2007.
And NSCZ chairman, Chifumu Banda was impressed that Cuba has schools offering professional education in football, basketball, volleyball and many other sports disciplines.
Mr. Banda said this was an important approach towards sports development in a country.
Meanwhile, Director of the Mario Lopez Alfonso national football school, Riamundo Hernandez said his institution was ready to offer assistance to Zambia.
Hernandez said Cuba and Zambia were ‘sister’ countries because they have a lot in common hence his institution would be willing to render any assistance the country would ask for.