THE tartan track at 50,000 capacity National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka has been damaged.
Minister of Youth and Sport Vincent Mwale discovered the damage when he toured the facility yesterday and called for proper protection.
He said it is disheartening that the tartan track is damaged before the facility is officially opened.
The stadium has so far staged international soccer friendly matches between Zambia and Sudan and Zambia against Ivory Coast, golden jubilee celebrations and International Women’s Day celebrations among others.
“Very soon we shall start looking for money to replace the running track. We have to protect this facility and we need to take it seriously. It is a concern because we can’t even host an international athletics event,” Mwale said.
He said it is in the interest of his ministry to ensure the stadium is protected from damage.
Mwale said protective measures that include banning of cars driving through the track will be put in place.
He, however, said replacing the tartan track will be costly and the stadium will be officially opened before the track is replaced.
“Such facilities are what we need if we are to develop sport. We have to ensure it is protected because a lot of money was spent to build this stadium,” Mwale said.
He said the stadium in its current state is able to host an international football match and the issue of replacing the tartan track will soon be discussed.
He also toured Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) and was impressed with the programmes currently being run at the institution.
OYDC director Clement Chileshe appealed to the minister to convince Zamtel to extend the two-year sponsorship deal that includes maintaining the 90-day Legacy Swimming Pool.
Chileshe said maintaining the pool gobbles K350, 000 annually and this is met by Zamtel.
The deal will end this year.
Meanwhile, Mwale said wrangles will not be tolerated in sports associations.
Speaking when he featured on Muvi Television Tuesday sports programme, Mwale said his ministry is working closely with National Sports Council of Zambia to ensure smooth running of sports disciplines.
He urged associations to come up with strategic plans which will help in mobilising funds.
Mwale also said there is need for associations to embark on talent identification programmes.
“Glory or honour does not come like an accident. You need to work hard and plan for the future. We need to employ seriousness in our tasks, every association must come up with a strategic plan,” he said.
Zambia Daily Mail