EXPECTATIONS will surely be high among sports associations as President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema takes over office with hope that his new government will bring the much needed breath of fresh air in the sports federations that spend most of their valuable time bickering.
The comforting part about the new government manifesto on sports is that it looks at sport as a big component in national building and intends to make Zambia the most physically active nation in Africa, a continental sports powerhouse and a global leader in the use of sports as a tool for sustainable development.
For those that might have not had a chance to go through it, the policy acknowledges, recognises and builds upon a number of previous national and international policies, which signifies the desire of Zambia to develop and implement progressive policies.
Crucially, the proposed sports policy reflects the new governments’ desire to harmonise and align all policies with the UPND’s 2030 agenda and vision of a united and prosperous Zambia.
In addition, the policy aligns and delivers key national policies (e.g., in health, tourism, education) and international policies including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), AU Sport policy framework 2020 – 2030, Kazan Action Plan.
The Sports Policy for Sustainable Development is aimed at building sustainable sports structures and programmes in line with the overarching priorities of the UPND 2030 Agenda.
It is also meant to inspire national sports actors to feel obliged and proud to fulfill the set national sports goals within the four policy pillars. These are: a prosperous and sustainable Zambia; an active Zambia; a winning Zambia, and support systems.
A prosperous and sustainable Zambia: All Zambian sports bodies recognised by the Sport Council of Zambia should use sport and recreation as a tool for sustainable development and contribute towards prosperous and united Zambia.
An Active Zambia: All national sports actors should create eco-friendly, inclusive and culturally embedded sports and physical activities for all citizens.
A Winning Zambia: All provinces and districts should create localised, systematic and effective high-performance sports systems and programmes that feed into the national system and programmes.
Support Systems: To identify and develop support mechanisms, strategies and programmes to ensure the achievement of all policy objectives situated within the pillars of the 2020-2030 sport policy framework (i.e., A prosperous and sustainable Zambia, An Active and A winning Africa).
It is clear from the above that the new government has placed sports development top of the agenda and the onus would be on the sports associations to see how they can incorporate their programmes and ensure they achieve the set objectives outlined.
Many a time associations cry for sponsorship but results continue to leave much to be desired and it would be everyone’s wish that resources will be allocated to deserving federations that work towards bringing honour to the country.
Results at international level have been embarrassing to say the least but time has come for all disciplines to switch and adopt a winning mentality and put the country on the world map.
The Chipolopolo have two important assignments coming up in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Mauritania and Tunisia on September 3 and 7 respectively and fans are expecting good results to kick-start the campaign on a good note.
Failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for a third time still leaves a bitter taste and the duty will be on FAZ to ensure they find a full-time coach soon because this task is massive and should be non-experimental.
I doubt if President Hichilema, who has spoken so much on accountability, and his government would not tolerate repeated failure especially as far as the national team is concerned looking at the huge chunk of support it receives.
And this brings about the cry from the, especially the so-called minor sports, for the new government to embrace all disciplines and help all games play a role in giving the many youths a decent future by keeping them away from bad vices at the most vulnerable age.
It will be exciting to see who the first Sports Minister under the new government will be to help steer Zambia’s sports development in the right direction and help end the unending squabbling with focus now on achieving success. Let us interact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org