VICTOR KUMWENDA, Lusaka
CHEMBE member of Parliament Mwansa Mbulakulima says there is need to engage an expatriate coach for the national team because local trainers are not yet ripe for the job.
And Parliamentary Committee on Youth and Sport chairperson Elijah Muchima told Parliament on Thursday evening that it is regrettable Zambia is struggling to win medals at international competitions 50 years after independence.
Muchima said there is need for athletes to take international tournaments seriously if they are to win medals.
Zambia won two bronze medals at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Muchima said sport is big business that could contribute to poverty alleviation.
Mbulakulima, a former Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) executive committee member, was debating on the motion for the adoption of the committeeâ€™s report on Youth and Sport.
He said Zambiaâ€™s nose-dive started after the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations triumph in Gabon.
Zambia were eliminated in the first round at the 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in South Africa and Equatorial Guinea, respectively.
â€œWe need an expatriate coach. At the moment we do not have coaches who can analyse the game at the highest level. We are not demeaning our local coaches but they are not yet ripe. It is not about the colour of the coach or race but oneâ€™s ability to do the job,â€ Mbulakulima said.
He also attributed the Chipolopoloâ€™s woes to the side-lining of senior players.
â€œWhen you make an abrupt change to the team, it affects the stability of the team. There is need to combine youth and experience to get the best out of the team,â€ Mbulakulima said.
He urged Government to allocate more resources towards the development of football.
Chongwe law-maker Sylvia Masebo urged FAZ to put in place measures to improve the Chipolopoloâ€™s performance.
Masebo also said Government should consider withdrawing funding to the national team if the performance does not improve.
Mpongwe MP Gabriel Namulambe implored Government to increase funding to the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) if sport is to improve.
Namulambe, a former Minister of Youth and Sport, also said there is need for FAZ to follow procedure when requesting for funds from Government.
He said on several occasions, FAZ deals with the Ministry of Youth and Sport instead of the NSCZ.
And winding up debate, Minister of Youth and Sport Vincent Mwale said Government has engaged the corporate world on the payment of salaries for the national team coach.
â€œFAZ has submitted a request to the ministry for the engagement of a foreign coach. The ministry has so far held fruitful discussions with 10 companies. We want to find a sustainable solution on the issue of salaries for the coach,â€ Mwale said.
He also said the Podium Performance Programme will help athletes improve their performance.
VICTOR KUMWENDA, Lusaka