SPORTS Minister Chishimba Kambwili has said his ministry intends to build a 15,000 to 20,000-seater capacity stadium in Mongu at the earliest possible time as one way of taking development to Western Province.
This follows Republican President Michael Sata's directive on Monday to Kambwili through Labour Minister, Fackson Shamenda, for the immediate construction of King Lewanika University and a modern stadium in Western Province as a way of honouring his campaign promises to the people of Western Province.
Reacting to the directive, Kambwili said he would take the order with the seriousness it deserves and would immediately set to work by engaging various stakeholders by setting up a working committee to start with the logistics like designing the planned state-of the-art piece.
Kambwili said he likes challenges and reiterated that he has never started a project in his career and failed, adding the people of Western Province would have a stadium delivered to them at the earliest possible time.
"I like challenges. I always live up to my promises and with the Mongu Stadium, I promise it will be done. I will immediately engage stakeholders so that we can come up with a design. We are looking at a 15,000-20 000 capacity stadium," said Kambwili.
He said the Livingstone Stadium earmarked for construction starting January 2013 was still on the cards, but at the moment Mongu was primary on the agenda.
"You see, Western province has been underdeveloped for a long time. If you go to Mongu or any part of Western Province, you will find that there is no development. The PF Government promised the people of development in the area and this one is more urgent, so we will start with Mongu," Kambwili said.
On the forthcoming Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Under-20 Games starting from December 4 to 17, Kambwili, who conducted an on-the-spot check of the facilities, declared the stage set, saying as at yesterday, the only thing that remained were final touches to the dressing rooms at Nkoloma Stadium which will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the games and the access road leading to the stadium which needs levelling with crashed stones and putting up of street lights and decorating with plants.
The minister had initially expressed displeasure at the slow progress of works by some contractors, but was now sure all the five venues that would host the Games, including the Games Village at the University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Road campus, would be in tip-top condition before the games.
"Six months ago, the Zone Six Games did not seem a reality. With two days before the Games, everything should be ready for handover by the contractors. The swimming pool is ready; it should be handed over to us anytime soon. I am extremely impressed and this should shame our detractors who thought we would fail," Kambwili said.
And Yvonne Sakala reports that with six days before Zambia hosts the first ever SCSA-Zone Six Under-20 Games, the local organising committee (LOC) have embarked on road shows to sensitise the people on the importance of the Games.
LOC chief executive officer (CEO) Bessie Chelemu said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the committee had started going round communities to sensitise the people on the Games, saying the exercise would go on for the next five days.
Chelemu said it was important for the committee to talk about the games and what sport would be taking place adding that people in the communities would be given flyers and brochures that contain details on the games.
"We have started our road shows in the communities, to sensitise the people on the importance of the games. We started today and the exercise will go on for the next five days. We have to work together with the people in the communities to see to it that the games are held successfully."
On the dressing rooms at Nkoloma Stadium, she said the contractors had made a tremendous progress, saying the rooms would be done before the games start."
"We have made a lot of progress in terms of preparations of the games; we are in line to beat the deadline of working on all the facilities that will be used during the games," Chelemu said.
She said the mood of hosting a very successful event was high, saying the committee would not leave any stone unturned to ensure the country hosts a memorable youth games.
Countries taking part in the games are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The sports disciplines to be competed in include Athletics, also for visually impaired, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Judo, Netball, Tennis, Soccer and Swimming.