SPORTS Minister Chishimba Kambwili has apologised to the netball team for not welcoming them upon arrival from the Africa Netball Championship in Botswana where the team finished second to qualify to the Sydney 2015 World Netball Championship.
Kambwili denied shunning the team saying he, or any other senior Government official, would have welcomed them if the ministry had been availed with their travel programme.
He said his ministry was in support of all sports associations but was not availed the arrival details of the team and as a result no official was at hand to welcome the team.
“I sincerely apologise to the netball team for not welcoming you back home, we have been supportive to all sports disciplines but in this case we were not availed with the programme,” he said.
Kambwili said this when he phoned in on a Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation (ZNBC) programme dubbed Sport On following concerns raised by Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZASOFA) strongman Peter Makembo that Government shunned welcoming the team.
He further appealed to the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) to avail his ministry programmes of all sports events.
“Most of the times we are not aware of some of these associations outings and we just get information after reading newspapers. We have never segregated when it comes to supporting sports associations for we always delegate a Government official.
As a ministry, we did not abandon the programme of welcoming the netball team but we were simply not aware. No one gave us a programme and I only got a call from the NAZ president telling me they had qualified,” he said.
By SANDRA MWILA and GRACE CHAILE – Times of Zambia