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ZAMBIA Athletics (ZA) president Elias Mpondela has called on government to invest in sports as it has the potential to contribute to the country’s economic development by creating jobs and transforming youths into champions.

Mpondela, who applauded the appointment of Kaputa Member of Parliament, Elvis Nkandu as minister of Sports said sports development has not been given the required attention because of it being perceived as an entertainment venture.

Mpondela called on the new minister to ensure that all the sports federations were given equal attention to make a difference.

He said all sports have the potential to create champions who can earn money which can be translated into investments.

“We need the narrative to change. The ministry must get involved in the operations of associations. They must not just get involved when there are wrangles.

“We need to begin to plan together and we need to be serious about them planning. We need to be serious about sports development,” Mpondela said.

“We hope that we stop talking and walk the talk. That is the spirit we have heard from President Hakainde Hichilema so we would like to urge HH and the new minister of Sports to look at the ministry as one which has the capacity to create job opportunities.

“It has the capacity to create champions and market the country. People will know where Zambia is if we have more champions and people,” Mpondela said.

He said it is unfair to expect federations to produce results when a huge chunk of investment goes to soccer.

Mpondela also called on the new minister of Sports to create opportunities to meet the associations to hear their challenges and what is needed to develop sports in the country.

Mpondela said when athletes embarrass the country at major sporting events, no one is held accountable because no proper cares or investment is given to sports.

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