SPORTS Minister Chishimba Kambwili has once again shown to be a man of action following yesterday's appreciation to athletes who won Zambia 41 medals during the 2012 Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games.
Athletes need to be appreciated for their efforts in bringing honour to the country as that would encourage them to do even better next time. After days of crying foul over their unpaid allowances after the Games, Kambwili showered the gold winning athletes with K15 million with silver medallists pocketing K10million and K7.5 million for bronze winners.
This was in addition to whatever these athletes were promised for their averagely good showing during the Games was won by South Africa who claimed most medals followed by Namibia in second position.
The year 2012 has been very good for Kambwili, whose reign as Sports Minister started with the Chipolopolo winning the Africa Cup of Nations trophy and he was faced with the huge task of hosting the SCSA Zone Six Games-which he successfully delivered in six months, leaving a legacy.
Kambwili has always demanded for results by encouraging the various sports disciplines to aim higher by bringing glory to the nation and I am sure the athletes were left speechless with the rewards which should go a long way in helping them meet their school fees and other logistics.
It is encouraging that other disciplines have started getting the recognition football enjoys - though it will never be equal.
At least athletes are now inspired to aim high knowing that apart from getting the desired results, there is a token of appreciation waiting for them.
Once again, congratulations to Kambwili for successfully hosting the Games and I am sure his wish is the same as mine and many Zambians out there for the athletes to maximise the facilities and continue winning medals during international events.
Let me sign off by congratulating Chipolopolo captain Christopher Katongo for scooping the 2012 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Player-of-the-year award, becoming only the first Zambian player to win such an accolade.
Katongo deservedly won the award after falling out from the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Player-of-the-Year award. Kalusha Bwalya remains the only player in Zambia and the southern African region to have won the award in 1988 and the BBC Personality-of-the-Year award in 1994.
I am sure the award would inspire Katongo and his teammates to work even harder to achieve more success and the nominations of coach Herve Renard, Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu would undoubtedly make the players more eager for more glory.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.