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Functional Sports Council a must

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SPORT PILGRIM with GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
THE need for a mother body in the sports field can never be debated. And in the last three years, Zambian sports has witnessed a big gap in administration as there was no body to provide a supervisory role.
For sports associations, it was a situation of “Every man for himself, God for us all.” The National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ), a sports mother body mandated to oversee the running of sports in the country operated for three years without a board.
And immediately after the Patrick Mutimushi led board became functional in February this year, their tenure of office came to an end last month. This has had a negative effect on the smooth running of sports in the country. But why this gap in the governance system?
The biggest problem has been the fact that NSCZ does not operate autonomously and the government (Ministry of Sports) overrides their powers.
In 2017, the then Minister of Sports Moses Mawere nullified the election of seven board members and it was the ministry wearing the NSCZ boots which has over 43 member associations. From time to time, we have seen the ministry interfering in issues that must be entirely handled by NSCZ.
This has eroded trust from federations and slowed the development of sports. It would be wishful thinking to expect an institution like FIFA to trust the Sports Council to handle the current wrangles in FAZ when it was defunct for three years.
However, the current Sports Minister Emmanuel Mulenga, has come out strongly indicating that a new board will be constituted in 60 days and that the ministry will no longer interfere in issues that must be handled by NSCZ especially concerning its affliates.
This pronouncement brings some sign of relief that soon we might see the mother body working autonomously and having more teeth in various sports association’s welfare.
Going forward, the NSCZ must work independently as indicated by the minister. The relationship between its executive board and the member associations should be enhanced for the smooth running of sports in the country.
There should also be some coordination between the Ministry and NSCZ if we are to yield good results in all sports disciplines.
The outgoing board must be commended for working tirelessly for beginning the process for the finalisation of the electroal code to avoid a repeat of what happend in 2017. They have also showed a good rapport with member associations which is a cardinal aspect in sports administration.
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