A NEW year has started and it is goodbye to 2012 together with all its successes as we now aim to accomplish more in 2013.
Sports associations have to make a fresh start in readiness for the many local and international engagements that await them this year and top of the agenda is the CAF 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals slated for South Africa.
It is, however, gratifying to note that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) already started preparations for the Chipolopolo to defend their AFCON title. So far the preparations have been good not to warrant any cause for concerns.
The international friendly matches lined up for the Chipolopolo starting with tomorrow's tie against Angola will greatly help the team's preparations.
Zambia will also face Morocco next week on January 8 followed by Norway four days later at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola before wrapping up with Namibia on January 15 at the AFCON base, Nelspruit.
It is good that defender Stoppila Sunzu has joined the Chipolopolo training camp and it is my hope that his transfer move to an English side is sorted on time to avoid him losing out on training.
The team needs to train as a unit and all players must be focused on retaining the AFCON trophy, realising the stiff competition that awaits the Chipolopolo against Ethiopia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso in Group C.
I also expect Sunzu to sort out his move to either Reading or Arsenal soon so that his mind can concentrate on achieving success for the Chipolopolo.
And I hope Southampton bench-warmer Emmanuel Mayuka could be released early so that he can benefit from the national team friendly matches to gain the much-needed match fitness.
Jacob Mulenga has been having more play time at his FC Utrecht side in Holland and he should have no difficulties fitting into the team.
AFCON aside, it is the hope of many Zambians that our CAF inter-club envoys, Zanaco and Power Dynamos prepare adequately for this year's competitions and at least reach the group stages.
There is need for the two clubs to put up a good show so that we can show the continent what we are capable of doing well at club level also following the success of the Chipolopolo winning the AFCON title.
Lastly, associations should start their preparations for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics set for China and Commonwealth Games to be hosted in Glasgow, Scotland.
There is need for associations to make use of the readily available structures in the country to ensure their athletes are in top form and qualify for the two competitions and win the country medals.
Coming from the background of having hosted a successful Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games, there is need for those athletes who did the nation proud to be given maximum exposure in training to ensure they perform more wonders at the Youth Olympics.
The Zambia Table Tennis Association has been busy organising National Junior Championships which I am sure would go a long way in shaping up the youths for the international competitions this year.