FRANCIS CHIPALO writes
SPORTS can significantly contribute to social, economic and physical well-being of individuals and society at large once taken seriously, says Zambia National Service (ZNS) Commandant Lieutenant-General Nathan Mulenga.
Gen Mulenga said the command continued to believe that sport in Zambia was a unifying factor which should continuously be used to bring people of different religion and political inclinations together to promote national reconciliation, unity and peace
In a speech read for him by Brigadier-General Mason Mtonga at Makeni Garrison on Friday during the annual sports awards to honour deserving athletes for the 2018 season, Gen Mulenga described performances by ZNS clubs in the previous sport calendar as average.
“ZNS therefore pledges to continue using sports to foster efforts aimed at national building,” Gen Mulenga said.
The commandant also said that the service, working in collaboration with other partners and stakeholders was focused on popularizing the so-called minor sports from the line of rail by gradually introducing them in remote areas.
He said the participation of stakeholders and the private sector was key to the development of sport in Zambia and further encouraged sponsors not to grow weary in their efforts to advance the interest of sport.
The commandant said ZNS would continue to encourage and inspire young men and women in Zambia who possessed refined talent to join the rank and file of the service.
“We shall continue to sensitize the youth across the country to look at sports as an alternative source of livelihood they should seriously consider nursing. This is because there are a lot of school dropouts in our country who can make a living out of sports,” said Gen Mulenga.
ZNS refused to cow down to the mistaken belief that it could not raise its competitiveness to the level of those from the North, West and Southern African counterparts who have been consistently hoisting the African flag at international competitions in sports activities.
He said the service would continue to make efforts to bear on the overall performance of Zambia’s various sports disciplines to get them to the level where they could be able to go punch-for-punch with highly advanced sporting nations on the continent and beyond.
Gen Mulenga also urged athletes to remain focused, disciplined and continue working hard, adding that with hard work and unquestionable commitment, athletes would soar to the top regardless of how small a particular sport one was involved in.
“As a service, we therefore reiterate our pledge that even as we continue to stretch resources to commit to other critical national programmes, we shall continue to increase support to the various sports disciplines in Zambia,” he said
Meanwhile, ZNS director of Sports Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Mwelwa said the service was impressed with the outstanding performances of its athletes.
“The general performance of all our clubs was above average and this can be attributed to the continued support both financially and administratively from the command and as a directory of sports, we appreciate this support because it motivates our sports men and women,” Mwelwa said.
ZNS supports a total of 17 sports disciplines which include darts, squash, basketball, boxing, volleyball and netball.
Others include judo, karate, tennis, chess, taekwondo, golf, Soccer and athletics among others.