IT is quite clear from the performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that most sporting associations sadly suffer from technical limitations.
As much as they are underfunded, the constant story with every international outing failure has been to go back to the drawing board and focus on youth development.
However, associations have even with the most minimal resources invested very little in their technical departments where either the coaches have overstayed for 10 years or someone is called out of retirement because of experience to administer a team rather than add anything new.
In other instances, others are roped in at the very last minute after all the selection processes are complete.
But truth be told that nothing works overnight like magic and this has led to the production of an average Olympic athlete who makes good reading in these media release we get but fail to perform when at the competition.
Just like football, minor sport is not insular or immune from the changing dynamics in world sports.
Actually minor sporting disciplines need foreign coaches to help improve the sport and bring in fresh ideas.
Furthermore, the technical gap and disconnect between a foreign based athlete and their local coaches seemingly needs to be reduced.
An example can be seen from Kenya Basketball who took a bold and ingenious decision to bring in a female coach to turn boys into men but I am not saying Zambian associations should copy the idea but just make them think outside the box with an open mind.
If you don’t believe me and think that our local technical capacity is adequate, then tell me something.
As seen in football, foreign coaches come with an open mind to help the team improve especially in as far as the rigid player selection is concerned and evidence is there how the country witnessed some surprising performances in some individual players that would normally be termed as ‘kulas’ to the untrained eye.
Apart from football, when was the last time anyone heard we had qualified match judges in minor sport at the All Africa Games, Commonwealth or at the Olympic Games?
We need an aggressive and holistic review to see how the country produces coaches otherwise we shall continue to moan about our athletes shortcomings in the ring, on the track, courts and track and field.
Meanwhile, it would be interesting to hear what reports associations would give at the proposed meeting with the National Olympic Committee aimed to review to the performance of the athletes.
The Zambia Swimming Union owes the nation an explanation as to why Kumeran Naidu, who has been on an Olympic solidarity programme, was replaced less than a month to the Games by a teenager who was not even preparing for the Olympics.
The women’s national football team may also need to state what they could do to improve the team play as noted by the Brazil coach and also why judoka Steven Mung’andu, despite spending the better part of the last four years in France, failed to win a single bout at the Games.
It would be interesting to hear what Zambia Athletics would say especially why the two runners despite a prolonged camp underwhelmed at the Games and for Zambia Boxing Federation on why the boxers only got to understand that scoring system while in Tokyo.
What was then happening in camp if not teaching the boxers how to win a fight through the standard scoring system because I believe that was what was supposed to have been the core of the training? But whatever was happening….your guess is as good as mine.
Wishing you all a blessed sporting weekend and let’s interact via email on email@example.com