Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sports mediocrity continues unabated in Zambia

The 10th All Africa games which just ended in Mozambique again saw Zambian athletes exhibiting high levels of mediocrity. Zambia only managed to win three bronze medals. This pales in comparison to South Africa’s haul of 158 medals. What a disaster! It was also sobering to see Mozambique host these games with quite sophisticated sports infrastructure adding to the flair of the competition. This is after Zambia failed to host the last games after bidding to host them in the first place. The reason for this was that Zambia did not have adequate infrastructure and that it could not build modern sports facilities in time. Mind you, Mozambique is a country which had suffered decades of civil war whilst Zambia has been a “haven” of “peace” and “stability”. Why do the sports authorities and the government continue to send under performing athletes to regional, continental and international competitions just to embarrass us? We of the Social Democratic Congress (SDC) are fully aware that the country has a huge reservoir of talent which is not properly tapped and nurtured. The sports authorities do know how to prioritise and focus on comparative advantage in regard to which events the country could surely reap dividends. Let us take the swimming team. This team has never won any medal at any major event – ever, and yet sports authorities keep on sending these “swimmers” who are ironically only white (one wonders where they scrape them from?) to various competitions. It is not healthy for a nation to constantly lose at every event when it can do better. Zambians have just been reduced to losers and whipping boys and girls at major sports events. If this half-baked performance is all the country has to show for, what more of the Olympics and Commonwealth Games? It is noteworthy that these so-called athletes use tax-payers money for their travel, allowances and upkeep. Perhaps, it would not be so far-fetched to suggest that a moratorium be put in place until such a time that the country has high-quality athletes who will bring glory to the country. We are sick and tired of this charade!  

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