By SANDRA MWILA -
REPUBLICAN President Edgar Lungu has told the triumphant under-20 players not to rush at signing the first contract that may be dangled at them but advised them to wait and seek proper guidance.
The president said this yesterday when he hosted a colourful luncheon in honour of the victorious under-20 national team at State House.
He said seeking advice was the right way to go and not rushing into signing the contracts that were being dangled at them after their success.
He told the players that their football journey was still in its infancy and that how it turns out in future solely depended on them.
“Your achievement is just the beginning of long football journey, the future is in your hands, keep away from social vices that can hinder you from realising your football dreams,” Mr. Lungu said.
The plush lunch-on was attended by first republican President Kenneth Kaunda, Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima, Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Davies Mwila, Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala, Sports Minister Moses Mawere and the under-20 technical bench and players among others.
The under-20 also demonstrated their vocal skills by a singing along to gospel artiste Ephraim’s songs as the Kalulushi singer performed at the event.
Before the President led his guests to lunch, midfielder Enock Mwepu, accompanied by 2012 Africa Cup winning Captain Christopher Katongo handed the under-20 trophy to the Head of State.
Captain Solomon Sakala also cut the cake and presented a piece to the President, who in turn cut off a slice from his piece and shared it with Dr. Kaunda.
Mr Lungu further reaffirmed Government commitment to supporting the under-20 ahead of the FIFA World Cup set for South Korea this May.
“As you prepare for the under-20 World Cup, I wish to reassure you that my Government will provide you with all the necessary support needed for you to be successful,” he said.
Mr Lungu, who is also the FAZ patron, said the under-20 has been consistent and exemplary ambassadors of peace and prosperity in line with Governments’ core values.
“As Republican president and patron of FAZ, my heart beams with pride to host you. Your achievement on the football pitch has restored our image as a great footballing nation,” Mr. Lungu said.
He said the victory and perfect hosting of the tournament deserves to be commended by all Zambians.
“We worked together in one spirit under our moto ‘One Zambia-One Nation’. This is indeed a spirit which we always preach and shall continue to with the same spirit under my leadership,” he said.
Mr Lungu said with unity, the country has power to rise above all social, political and economic divides, just as the noble eagle does.
Meanwhile midfielder Enock Mwepu thanked the President for hosting the team at State House out of his busy schedule.
“As a team, we are really grateful for your support, your presence at the stadium gave us extra motivation to die a little for our mother Zambia,” he said.