MATHEWS KABAMBA, Kitwe
ZAMBIA Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) president Elias Mpondela says inadequate funding is hindering the development of the sport.
Meanwhile, Mpondela said he will leave office when time comes.
Mpondela said the country has potential to compete effectively with dominant countries like Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia among others but cannot do so due to lack of funds.
The three countries have dominated the track and field events.
He said this on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation’s Sunday Interview programme.
Mpondela said the association fails to send runners to international events due to insufficient funds.
“If you go to any one of these countries like South Africa the private sector is totally engaged, the government is involved, they have the best equipment in the country unlike here [Zambia].
“Each country that you see [at these events], they are totally supported by their respective countries. They have incredible investments,” Mpondela said.
He, however, said the association will strive to have more athletes exposed to international competitions.
Sydney Siame and Kabange Mupopo among others are some of the top runners in the country.
“To go to those competitions you have to qualify…we started with 25 hopefuls for the World Athletics Championship in London and this requires money to help the athletes participate in the qualifying events,” Mpondela said.
And Mpondela said: “I will leave when time comes, every election I have been challenged and sometimes I am challenged wrongly. In Zambia we believe in things collapsing and start rebuilding but that is not what we want in ZAAA.”
Mpondela has been ZAAA chief since 1999.