ABOUT 20 years ago, I was excited when my former secondary school became one of the first (if not the first) schools outside the ‘line of rail’ to lift the Coca-Cola Inter-schools trophy.
I read in the Sunday Mail that Petauke Day Secondary School won this year’s edition of the competition.
Naturally, I was happy for the lads, especially that competing at that level may give them the necessary exposure to play at a higher level. However, I was depressed when I saw the figures for the prize money that was given to the winners, the losing finalists and the third-place winners. I was surprised to learn that a big organisation like Zambian Breweries could give only K15,000 to the winners, K10,000 to the runners-up, and K7,500 to the third prize winners.
I have no doubt that ZB has spent a lot of money on organising the competition but surely management of the entity must re-look at the prize money.
Unless someone can tell me that they gave the finalists other packages such as sponsorship to universities/colleges or gave them educational equipment such as laptops and smart phones, I think these prizes are a mockery to the participants.
One cannot hide in saying the boys have got the exposure which I alluded to earlier.
Let us suppose that there are no other incentives provided to the teams, it means a team of 22 players (estimated) has to share K7, 500 and give each player K340 as bonus. That is imagining that the teachers and the host school get nothing.
ZB has the capacity to do much better than this, especially that they even invited the Minister of Sport to officiate at the finals and gained extensive media coverage from the event. How can ZB, for example, pay a pupil K500 which
I have before paid some pupils of my former primary school who excelled in mock examinations as a way of motivating them to work harder in the final examinations? Is this not what some of the people involved in organising the event got on one day as lunch or transport allowance?
I really think ZB can afford to, at least, pay K200,000 to the winners, K150,000 to the runners-up, K100,000 to the third-placed team, K50,000 to the fourth- placed team and K25,000 to each of the quarter finalists.
This should be in addition to other incentives provided to the schools. FAZ and the Ministry of Sport should also ensure our youths get ‘value for their sweat’ if the competition has to attract more teams to work harder in future.