19 November 2012

Zambia: Nation Draws South Africa At Zone 6 Games

IT seems the sporting rivalry between Zambia and South Africa is nowhere near ending after the two long time nemesis were drawn against each other in the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Games football tournament.

The drawing of Zambia and South Africa in the junior competition comes barely less than a week after the two countries' senior teams clashed in a spectacle of a match in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Soccer City Stadium with Chipolopolo winning 1-0 thanks to a Collins Mbesuma strike.

Bragging rights shift to the Under- 17s in the biennial games billed for December 4 to 17 at the Nkoloma and Sunset Stadium in Lusaka.

The adversary got refreshed at a colourful Gala held at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, which is one of the Games' venues, at which the Games Mascot named 'Nyoni', a large Fish-Eagle was revealed.

After holding breath in anticipation, the crowd was sent into loud applause after Sports Deputy Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu fished out South Africa from the large bow to join Zambia in Group A of the boys' football competition.

Zambia went into the draw as the seeded team in Group A with defending champions, Angola being the seeded team in Group B while the girls' teams would be subjected to a round-robin basis where Zambia's opponents would be Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Joining Zambia and South Africa in Group A is Botswana, Malawi and Seychelles while Angola would be with Namibia, Swaziland, Mauritius and Lesotho.

In basketball, at least Zambia avoided South Africa but landed Mozambique, Namibia and Malawi while in the three-team Group B, otherwise the 'Group of Death' will see South Africa having to contend with Angola and Botswana.

Netball would be played on a round robin basis where Zambia would open her account with a game against Namibia and later play Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.

And Mubukwanu said the games would leave an indelible mark in Zambia adding that the country would host successful games and the called on competitors coming for the games put in their best and play credible and to always observe fair play.

SCSA general secretary Mvuzo Mbebe hailed Zambia for putting up the facilities and making stage for a hugely successful Zone Six Games adding 'well done Zambia".

Speaking earlier during a media briefing, Mbebe, who is also SCSA Zonal Organising Committee chairperson, said Zambia was more than ready to host the games in a very conducive atmosphere.

He said while there could be some minor works remaining like the completion of the dressing rooms at Nkoloma Stadium and the swimming pool, he was confident that come first week of December the facilities would be ready for the youth games.

"We have given Zambia thumbs up, we are now moving from 70 per cent to 85 per cent of being ready to host the games.

We are comfortable with the progress made and Zambia will host the games in a very good atmosphere," Mbebe said.

He said when Zambia was given a mandate to host the games, the committee was looking at whether Zambia had a place to accommodate the athletes, security support system, and if the facility was in high standards and was amused by the amount of works being done at all the games venues.

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