DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka
WITH the introduction of beach volleyball, the sport is set to become one of the popular disciplines in the country.
Zambia will for the first time have a beach volleyball court which is currently being constructed at Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
According to the Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA), the erection of the beach volleyball court will not only enhance competition but entice youngsters to take up volleyball for a career.
Beach volleyball is an Olympic sport and Zambia has never taken part in a major beach volleyball competition, let alone an organised local beach volleyball league, all because of lack of facilities.
But with the availability of the court at OYDC, Zambia is set to join countries that have excelled in beach volleyball.
â€œFor us, this is the beginning of major beach volleyball achievements,â€ says ZAVA general secretary Charles Haambote who believes the OYDC pilot project is an exodus from the traditional indoor game.
For players, the construction of the beach volleyball court is a prayer answered.
Fourteen-year-old John Musukwa of SOS township in Lusaka believes the introduction of beach volleyball in Zambia will give wide opportunities to already existing players and also entice more to join the sport.
John is among the many youths trying to pursue a career in volleyball.
He believes the sport has potential to make the country proud at major competitions.
John was born on June 15, 2002 and is in grade eight at New Mandevu School.
He wants to study medicine after completing his secondary education.
His love for volleyball has never in any way distracted his academic ambitions and believes it has instead helped him remain focused in school.
â€œSport requires discipline and once you are disciplined anything else becomes easy to deal with. I have learnt in sport the importance of working hard and being focused and that has really helped me with my school work,â€ he says.
John started as a judoka before turning to volleyball.
He currently plays for Black Panthers, a youth side that competes in the Samsung and Teulings Youth Sport Challenge.
John wants to play professional volleyball in the United States of America.
â€œI know this sounds like a far-fetched dream but it all starts with dreams. I want to play professional volleyball in America, probably on scholarship,â€ he says.
John is one of the dependable players in the squad and with the introduction of beach volleyball, he feels it will work perfectly for him.
His coach Isaac Tembo is his role model.
John says his coach has played a major role and has inspired him to be a player he is today.
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DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka