Analysis: SHAPA WAKUNG’UMA
IT IS self-evident that an occupation such as being Zambia Police Service officers demands that we stay fit throughout – from the first date of appointment to the date of retirement and even beyond. This explains why there has been a policy that encourages the promotion of sport in view of enhancing social interaction and promoting good health among officers. This gesture of promoting sport was extended to the surrounding communities in light of fostering good relations with members of the public which leads to effective community policing.
Sport, undoubtedly, acts as a springboard to boosting physical fitness levels among men and women in uniform, and as a matter of fact, it is a pre-requisite to their day-to-day job.
Over the years, our sports clubs have become a reservoir for various national sports associations. Without the support of the Zambi Police Service and other defence and security wings, the future of our sport at both local and international levels cannot be guaranteed.
We, the Zambia Police Service, account for a good share of successes in this field. The founding fathers played a major role in the sport of today. In 1980, we entered the global stage in Moscow with Aggrey Mukanga, Donald Munakatesho, Francis Mwanza and Rex Chizoma as our envoys in the Olympic Games. They carried in their hearts the Olympic creed by expressing the value that winning is not important but that participating is, just as it is not important in life to triumph but to struggle. This struggle was not theirs alone, it was for all of us. And rightly so, their struggle gave rise to a new Olympiad in Mathews Punza, who despite being ranked 112th when he entered the summer Olympics of 2016 in Rio, Brazil, managed to defy all odds by defeating Golan Pollack of Israel whose World ranking was 6th and had recently won Bronze at the previous World Championships. The screaming headlines on international media organisations such as CNN and BBC reported this news of a Zambian athlete who pulled off the ultimate upset of the Rio 2016 Olympics. And at this stage, Zambia was making headlines courtesy of this young policeman who earned himself the rank of inspector from Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja on arrival from Rio.
These great men have since passed the baton on to us to carry on from where they left. The growth of sport in our system and let alone in our country hinges on men and women with a passion for sport. The fruits we are enjoying today are a result of the efforts of people like Edwin Imboela, Ziezi Limbambala (our first director of sports), Adam Shiyanda, Gilbert Kwiliko, Osward Green Mutapa, Paul Luanga, Raphel Mbewe, Bonwell Percy Mombelela, Boga Mushanga, Killian Chisanga and other patriots who were there before them. The founding fathers have taught us how to think, but they are no longer around to tell us what to think nor indeed what to do. What they did was enough to occasion change in us. We are on our own, and have only our own reason and judgement to rely on.
Lately, we have been priding ourselves in personalities such as Musukuma Chipungu, the Nkwazi Football Club midfield maestro, Ogar Siamupangila, the badminton ace, Godfrey Kandela, the cricket genius, the international chess master Gillian Bwalya, Hellen Banda the netball star, Sydney Siame the 2014 Youth Olympic gold medallist (athletics), Victor Chiluya, whose Kung Fu Club has taken centre stage, and many others too numerous to mention. Unprecedented also is the fact that we can now take advantage of the business that soccer provides. Justin Shonga now plies his trade with a foreign-based team, Orlando Pirates of South Africa. Osward “Mourinho” Mutapa can explore his coaching talent beyond the boundaries of the police. These are some of the new dimensions that have come along the way over the years.
Some of these young men and women have managed to keep their sporting disciplines afloat by soliciting for sponsorship in terms of material and financial support from business institutions as a way of supplementing the scarce resources often allocated to them. They have been mentored to manage their sport and are evidently equal to the task. Such pride should largely be attributed to our true leaders who are not in the system any more but whose presence we can still feel. Today’s generation, like our founding fathers, are proving that they are capable of inheriting the same spirit of true leadership.
With all this said, I am also reminded of Lilayi as a breeding ground of legendary sportsmen and women. Between 1995 when Mr. Duncan Mubanga was college commandant to date, I personally witnessed the passion with which every commandant took keen interest in keeping the sport on course. In 2001, for instance, Mr Peter Chingaipe, who was commandant then, held a special parade for the visiting Bunji Matsushita, a Japanese Judo Master whose first visit to Zambia was in 1972 when he came to train a special group of officers in self-defence. Bunji was at Lilayi on his second visit to appreciate what he and his colleagues had initiated 40 years back. It is such gestures that have kept our sport alive to this very date.
There is no doubt that the social development emanating from sport accounts very well for our great nation through various international competitions and, therefore, we can only aspire to sustain it in every way possible. The future can only be said to be bright if the structures which these individuals depend on are fully supported. When practice and promise are brought into closer alignment, then we are assured of a brighter future. Whenever we celebrate the successes of these individuals, we ought to be reminded of the dream that our founding fathers had. They emitted enough light for all of us to see. Ours is to keep the sporting flame burning and, most importantly, to make it even brighter than it was decades ago when it was passed on to us. We thank you our founding fathers for showing us the way.
The author, a former director of sports in the Zambia Police Service, is officer-in-charge Sesheke.
Analysis: SHAPA WAKUNG’UMA