Govt plans to produce world-class Zambian athletes


SPORTS Minister Chishimba Kambwili has said Government is formulating a strategy that will see Zambia produce world-class sports in the next 10 years.
Kambwili said Zambia would soon get over the current tendency where athletes have been perennial losers at world events.
The minister, who was speaking during the just ended Airtel Rising Stars tournament in Lusaka on Wednesday, said the Government had a vision was to see that Zambia becomes a sports powerhouse in Africa once again.
Kambwili said it was for that reason that the country was attempting to host the 2019 edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
He said that could only be achieved through the National Youth Sports Festival which was revived in 2011 that his ministry was trying to strengthen.
“My ministry is working towards making Zambian athletes world-recognised champions in he next 10 years. Our vision is that we become a sports powerhouse of Africa. We will continue supporting and encouraging such innovations and we will do this through the National Youth Sports Festival that we are strengthening,” Kambwili said.
The minister said his office would ensure that the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) Act and the National Sports Policy were revised in order to realise the country’s aspirations.
Kambwili commended Airtel and Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) for the initiative, saying the innovation would see many youths groomed into the African football stars of tomorrow.
He encouraged young players to maintain high levels of discipline exhibited during the five-day tournament, saying that they could only achieve their dreams through discipline.
“In today’s hard global economic era, it is encouraging to note that some companies can come on board and support sport. This event is always an activity and an opportunity for our country to build the future champions of tomorrow,” he said.
The minister wished the senior national soccer team God’s blessings as they play Ghana on September 6 in the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Kumasi.
And FAZ vice-president Boniface Mwamelo said this year’s edition of the ARS was a huge success, saying last year’s edition was more than double last year’s competition which attracted 7, 000 players. The number increased to 15, 000 this year.
Mwamelo said FAZ was using the Airtel Rising Stars competition to identify talent among the youths in the provinces they were representing, adding that FAZ would never have known the vast talent the rural areas possessed, but thanks to the mobile service provider.