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Sports heroes deserve more

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
YESTERDAY, Zambians put to rest former national football team skipper Dickson Makwaza in Luanshya, where he had settled after ending his playing and coaching career.
Ironically, the death of Makwaza, who was the first skipper to lead Zambia to a silver medal at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt in 1974, came at a time when the country was preparing to commemorate the Heroes and Unity holidays.
The 1974 tournament graced by Makwaza and company was Zambia’s maiden appearance at the continental showpiece.
Yugoslav coach Ante Buselic had assembled a squad that sent shivers across Africa.
Makwaza, Emmanuel Mwape, Edwin Mbaso, Ackim Musenge, Dick Chama, Boniface Simutowe, Willie Phiri, Moses Simwala, Fred Mwila senior, Jani Simulambo, Richard Stephenson, Bernard Chanda, Godfrey Chitalu, Brightwell Sinyangwe, Simon Kaodi were some of the players that represented Zambia at that Africa Cup of Nations finals 45 years ago.
Eulogies have rightly been pouring in for Makwaza from across the nation since his death was announced last Saturday.
But like many other sporting greats, his memories are likely to take a distance immediately after his burial.
Time has certainly come for the country to do more in honouring not only footballers but also athletes from other sporting disciplines that have made a grade.
These are the people who sacrificed a lot to put Zambia on the world map.
Boxing legend Lottie Mwale, athletics guru Samuel Matete, chess star Amon Simutowe, the only Grand Master in Southern Africa, and motorsport hero Satwant ‘Mukango’ Singh, who won eight African titles, among others, deserve to be honoured.
For instance, stands at the 60,000 capacity National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka and Ndola’s 40,000 capacity Levy Mwanawasa Stadium could be named after the likes of Makwaza, Chanda, Sinyangwe, Chama, Mwila and Kaodi among others.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) executive committee should take the lead in convincing Government through the Ministry of Sport to take this route.
At Old Trafford in England, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a stature while Ryan Giggs has a stand named after him in honour of his achievements.
At Anfield, Liverpool’s homeground, former manager Danny Dalglish has a stand named after him while Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer, has a stature at Emirates Stadium.
This is how it should be done and Zambia should follow suit.
FAZ should also strive to have a museum to document Zambia’s football history from the 1950s to date.
In so doing, future generations will be aware of where the country is coming from and the direction it is taking to achieve more glory.
Let’s interact on,