CECILIA ZULU, Lusaka
MINISTER of Youth, Sport and Child Development Moses Mawere says some under-20 national team players have been rewarded after their outstanding performance at the FIFA World Cup in
Responding to questions in Parliament yesterday after presenting a ministerial statement on the young Chipolopolo’s performance at the World Cup, Mawere said there is need to empower the players.
Midfielders Enock Mwepu and Edward Chilufya have been given plots by Kalulushi and Kasama Municipal Councils following their splendid showing in South Korea.
Mwepu scored twice while Chilufya, who is scheduled to join Swedish side Djurgardsandan, netted once as Zambia reached the quarter-finals.
“Our young men have brought glory to this nation. After exposing them to international competitions, we have seen a lot of scouts taking up some of the players. Actually, some of them have been taken up by big clubs.
“They are now getting handsomely rewarded. As a country, we are still considering what other empowerment programmes and support we can give them. But out of all, the bigger picture is that they are able to excel in their career,” Mawere said.
He also said Government had set aside money to pay the players if they had qualified for the World Cup semi-finals.
Zambia lost 3-2 to Italy in the quarter-finals.
“As a country, under FAZ [Football Association of Zambia] there is an incentive which is always there for our players. There is always a winning bonus as well as a bonus when you draw.
“Already our players were fully aware of what was at stake in terms of incentives. They were aware that an incentive was there going in that match [against Italy],” Mawere said.
He said the ministry is working closely with FAZ to ensure that the under-20 players are not rushed to the senior national team.
Mawere also said Government will not engage an expatriate coach to drill the senior national team.
He said FAZ will train local coaches so that they meet international standards.
The Chipolopolo are drilled by Wedson Nyirenda.
Zambia lost 1-0 to Mozambique in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match last Saturday in Ndola.