Remain focused, Zambia Under-17 told

Airtel Rising Stars
FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) vice-president Boniface Mwamelo says there is need to leave a legacy by guarding against the Airtel Rising Stars players going into oblivion.

Mwamelo said when he welcomed the Zambia Under-17 ARS team that finished second during the Africa Soccer Championships held in Nigeria that there was need for the association to come up with a programme that should see the players nurtured so that they can be seen graduating into the various teams before making it into the Chipolopolo.
He commended Airtel for coming up with such a programme which he said had greatly helped FAZ as it forms a big component of the Talent Identification Programme (TIP) but wondered what had happened to most of the stars from the previous ARS editions.
Mwamelo, who is also FAZ technical committee chairperson, has since tasked technical director Honour Janza to come up with programmes that should see the ARS monitored so that there progression can be monitored.
“We want to one day say these were the ARS from such a year. We need to guard against these stars but let me also urge these players to remain focused both on the pitch and also concentrate on their studies at school,” he said.
He showered praise on the team for finishing second and was confident that one day a Zambian ARS team will go on to win the title adding that FAZ wants this team to play in the CAF Under-17 qualifiers and also in the Under-20 championships that the country will host.
Mwamelo urged the players to use the ARS competition as a stepping stone to reach the apex of their careers and that the association would do its best to ensure the players received the necessary support.
Airtel managing director Charity Lumpa, in a speech read for her by company customer service director Joseph Kafwariman, said the mobile service provider remains committed to seeking similar initiatives that create a positive community impact.
Lumpa urged the boys and girls’ teams to remain focused.
“Michael J Fox once said; there is always failure, disappointment and loss. But the secret is learning from the loss and realising that none of those holes are vacuums. Let me congratulate the kids for taking part in the competition and for dedicating their time as well as passion to represent the country in a better way,” she said.
Head of delegation Lee Kawanu expressed happiness with the players performance despite training as a unit for just three weeks and that the team had great promise for the future for Zambian football.
“I am happy with this group of players that we have. They are easy to nurture and I foresee them bringing honours to Zambia. The countrywide tour has really paid off as the players drawn from schools and the community did us proud,” he said.