Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO
THE return of the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) awards is certainly good news to the sports fraternity.
Historically, sportsmen and women, administrators inclusive, have been rewarded for their efforts throughout the year.
The awards recognise and reward excellence in sports.
For a long time, the Rothmans sports awards honoured the crème de la crème of our sports personalities.
Cigarette manufacturer Rothmans of Pall Mall sponsored the sports awards for almost two decades until the company was taken over by Central Cigarettes.
After a lull, the NSCZ took over the responsibility of hosting the awards but only managed two editions in 2010 and 2012.
After another seven years blackout, Mwamba Kalenga-led NSCZ board [before it] was dissolved, submitted to Minister of Sports Moses Mawere that it intended to stage the third edition of the awards on April 28 this year.
However, Mawere was impatient and could not wait to see the awards held, hence the delay in holding them.
A committee from the NSCZ secretariat/sports department led by Elliott Mhende and James Chona as volunteer members embarked on organising the awards sponsored by TopStar.
TopStar therefore deserves commendation for partnering with the NSCZ in holding the 2017 sports awards last Thursday.
Clubs and associations, including institutions such as the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, Zambia Police and Zambia National Service hold their awards but nothing beats the national event because it is the climax of all sports disciplines in the country.
The NSCZ awards summarise the performance of all the individual athletes as well as clubs and national teams, including administrators.
The awards at all levels are important because they motivate athletes, coaches, administrators and teams.
“The ones that have won awards would want to continue working hard to maintain their status quo while their rivals would also be aiming to supplant them,” former Zambia Police Service national coordinator Shapa Wakung’uma said.
Chingola-based sports administrator Jermaine Sikombe acknowledged that awards play very big role.
“They are inspirational. Sportsmen are actors [and] stars in their own right and they thrive on adoration – a rewarded sportsman feels adored and inspired this motivates them – its goes to say that competitors or colleagues (peers for want of better word, will want to be the next ones to earn that adoration and this opens up competition, which is the main ingredient of sports. Everyone will want to work hard at sharpening their skill and work rate winning ability -that sharpens the prowess,” Sikombe said.
While at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) when the three of them with Sixtus Mulenga, the then vice-president for Safety, Health and Environment and the late Sampa Chita, they asked the mining giant to sponsor a national cup for football.
“Now that was after the vice-chairman of the company had chided management for spending K1 billion [then] on three teams Nampundwe, Nchanga Rangers and Konkola Blades when Copperbelt Energy Corporation was spending K1.3 billion on one team, Power Dynamos.
“I counter proposed and said if KCM wanted to get mileage out of football, they might as well sponsor the league, which then had no sponsor even if a sponsor was there. The rewards were mediocre and that gave rise to the KCM Premier League sponsorship,” Sikombe said.
Apart from sponsoring the league, KCM also sponsored the Super Division awards which rewarded the footballer-of-the-year, top scorer and the champions.
This ultimately led to rise in the new crop stars and contributed to Zambia winning the Africa Cup in 2012.
So cardinal are the sports awards.
We hope other corporate organisations can come on board for the National sports awards to make them not only the biggest but more rewarding financially.
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