Athletes should reciprocate State’s good gesture

ZAMBIA will yet again participate in the All-Africa Games, this time in Brazzaville, hoping that they will shake the monkey off their back in international competitions.
Let’s face it, Zambia’s performance in international competitions has at best been poor, something no-one would be proud of unless they have set the bar very low.
There doesn’t seem to be any solution in sight yet the country has continued ferrying athletes to tournaments at a great cost to the treasury.
On the 2015 All-Africa Games, a whopping K4.9 million has been set aside for the 80-plus delegation while the netball team competing at the World Cup will spend K1.1million.
If you asked me – I know you won’t’ – these monies are huge though, in a way, they will go to waste because the Zambian flag is unlikely to be raised at both competitions. I mean, I don’t expect any gold medal unless by a stroke of magic or godly extravagance.
Not that I have no faith in the teams but there is nothing on the ground to suggest serious preparations. The only preparations I know of are that of obtaining visas, the team’s attire and of-course, air tickets.
The question is: Why do we really compete in games we know we have little or no chance of winning? Is it just for prestige, pride or just for the sake of it? Maybe, we need a thesis on that but need to realise that Government spends huge amounts on these games and athletes should reciprocate graciously.
Associations must know that the K4.9 million allocated to them could have been used in other sectors such as education and health, or even energy where there is a national crisis.
The contingent should, therefore, put in a little more than the usual to make the financiers proud, although from my standpoint, and with all due respect, the investment can be likened to applying fertiliser to a withered crop.
As for the netball team, and without being harsh on them, the K1.1 million is clearly money they cannot account for on the courts.
Though the team qualified for the World Cup, it is far from the quality that can favourably compete at that high level.
While that may make me sound like the devil’s advocate, it’s a sermon I am prepared to preach till the end of times and hope one or two will be converted.