GOVERNMENT has expressed excitement at the FIFA 11-for-Health Project among children in basic schools saying it will help roll-out across the country to promote football as a health enhancing pleasure activity.
And speaking during an 11-for-Health graduation ceremony at Lusaka' s Golf View Hotel on Thursday night, Ministry of Health Director Public Health, Maximilian Bweupe said the ministry would work closely with FAZ to ensure the pilot project developed.
Bweupe said the Government would make sure the programme does not phase out, but instead ensure that all school-going children were enrolled into the programme.
"Government is committed to make sure this pilot project does not die out. We will make sure we don't loose sight of it, let's make sure more school children are enrolled into the project," Bweupe said.
He said Zambia had a platform where it could communicate to the young people on the dangers of the non-communicable disease which was linked to an unhealthy lifestyles and the lack of exercise.
He said there was need for people to take action, adding that 50 per cent of the population in Zambia are children under the age of 11 and that coaches should use football the sport that everybody understands, to communicate to the children.
He said he was glad that the country had the pilot project and that he was looking forward to implementing the programme.
"When you look at our population, 50 per cent of the population are children, so we can use football that everybody understands to instil into the children. I am sure they will be able to prevent some diseases," he said.
And FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya said the association takes a lot of joy in developmental programmes such as the FIFA 11-for-Health project.
Kalusha said the initiative ensured that the association was able to sustain the highest levels and would continue to see the game of football develop.
He said the programme inspired the young generation and future champions especially when the young people were engaged as it was seen in the FIFA 11-for-Health pilot study.
Kalusha said the association wanted to see the programmes rolled out the schools and communities and that the association wanted the programme to go country wide as football was played every where in Zambia.
And FIFA chief medical officer, Jiri Dvorak said the aim of the FIFA 11-for-Health project was to prevent football injuries and promote football as a health enhancing pleasure activity.
The programmes will be jointly implemented by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), FIFA and the Ministries of Sports, Education and Health, respectively.
The programme uses the power of football to drive change and educate young people on key basic principles of hmols and communities.