STANBIC Bank yesterday donated K50 million to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) towards the Chipolopolo preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by South Africa.
And Government has called on Stanbic Bank to consider introducing a cup soccer tournament as a way of improving the local game that currently boasts of one cup competition-Barclays Cup.
Speaking during a presentation of the AFCON trophy to Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili at Government complex yesterday, Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer Dennis Kennedy said the donation was made to FAZ as bank realises that the national soccer team needed support ahead of the AFCON finals.
Kennedy said the bank has been encouraged by the Chipolopolo results but that there was need for the team to have adequately preparations to successfully defend the trophy in South Africa next year.
"It is worth noting that in the year that Stanbic Bank celebrated its 20th anniversary in Zambia and 150 years in Africa, the Chipolopolo were crowned African Champions. The bank is aware that a good showing at the Africa Cup requires adequate preparations and this is why we would like to make a financial contribution of K50 million towards preparations," he said.
Kennedy paid tribute to Government for its efforts in supporting different sports disciplines in the country as evidenced by the hosting of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games.
And Kambwili said the bank should consider introducing a Cup competition to help improve the local league that currently had one cup competition.
"My earnest appeal is to you to consider introducing a cup competition which could be named the Stanbic Cup so that it can complement the already existing one as that would help improve our local league," he said.
Kambwili commended the bank and CAF for initiating the AFCON trophy tour to Zambia and expressed confidence that the cup will make its way back after the 2013 AFCON edition in South Africa.
The Minister said the Government was aware of the impact football has in communities and on a national scale and that was why it valued efforts of key stakeholders like Stanbic Bank in the development of football across the continent.
Kambwili said Stanbic Bank sponsorship of the AFCON finals dating 2008 ending 2016 has played a part in African football's continued rise on the global stage and most importantly has created an opportunity for footballers to showcase their skills and earn a living.
"Your efforts as a bank are supplementing the inroads that the Government is making in sports development in the country. We are also pleased that you have identified our Chipolopolo captain Chris Katongo as an ambassador and this is encouraging and a testimony that you have seen a role model in him," he said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili has called on corporate world to help Government financially to successfully host the SCSA Zone Six Under-20 Games from December 4 to 17 in Lusaka.
Kambwili said Government alone cannot manage to stage the event with the support from the corporate world saying 'I am making this appeal because we want to host a successful event that depicts the status of African Champions in football'.
The AFCON trophy will be on display in Lusaka today before making its way to Ndola and Kitwe.