THE motivation given the national women’s team ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations outing is the way to go.
Many times, especially in the past tournaments, the women’s team has travelled for such competitions without any promise of incentives or any payment as was the case when the team members were given US$1, 000.
Well done government through the Ministry of Sports for lifting the burden on FAZ who have in the past sponsored the women’s team alone.
It is no secret that women’s football continues to grow and such incentives given are needed if Zambia is to compete favourably against these big guns, not only in Africa, but also at the world stage.
This would also end some cries about the government only concentrating on men’s football but most importantly motivate the girls to perform well and not end with a first round exit.
To get you up to speed, the players would get US$3, 000 per win in each group game with US$3,500 in the quarter-final and US$4,000 for the semi-final while US$5,000 would be paid for the final.
This should help spur the team to reach at-least the quarterfinal looking at the tough group they are in with Cameroon, Tunisia and Togo.
It is the hope and trust of every Zambian that coach Bruce Mwape has assembled a strong team capable of performing well at the tournament.
Of course there was some noise by some players who were left out from the team but such should not in any way distract the team as reasons for axing some players were explained and are well known to the players themselves.
The team should take advantage of the training camp in Morocco to fine tune before the tournament gets underway as the government and FAZ have done their part to ensure all was in place for their side.
What remains now is for the team to show their desire, hunger and be clinical in their performances to justify the US$21, 500 winning bonuses promised unto them.
There should be no excuses of having not been paid any money to sort out any pending issues at home as has been the case in the past and all Zambians would be interested in now is to see the girls challenge for the title.
Qualification to the Olympics set a high bar for the women’s team and as such they must show that they are now giants amongst the big girls of African football.
And on the same topic of allowances, it was encouraging to hear Ministry of Sports permanent secretary Kangwa Chileshe say the government will remunerate the runners that competed at the African Athletics Championships as well.
This should be a nice song to the ears of my namesake Elias Mpondela after his runners managed to bag four medals at the championships-which he said was equal to the Africa Cup of Nations in football terms.
The desire shown by the government to share the cake across all sports disciplines should spur associations to aim high at the various international and regional competitions.
But most importantly, this gesture to support all associations should now not make associations lazy to come up with various ways to raise their own funds rather than entirely depend on the government for every little ngwee.
Associations like swimming, golf and motor sport continue to be shining examples of self-sustaining federations that do not solely depend on government to fulfill an assignment and other associations should take a leaf.
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