President Michael Chilufya Sata has sent a message of goodwill to the Zambia national soccer team ahead of the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations finals, which kick off in South Africa this weekend.
The President said the Chipolopolo should once again represent the country with determination, passion and pride to overcome all obstacles they will encounter at the 16-nation tournament.
He urged the team to maximise their unlimited potential, as they did at the 2012 edition in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, and aim for the ultimate prize.
"I have never doubted your passion for the game, courage to overcome and desire to be champions. I know your determination to win and I believe in your abilities," President Sata said.
He said as champions, the burden to prove their true worthiness is greater, and that of equal proportion should be their ambition to remain the top team on the continent.
"That should, however, not put you under any pressure but inspire you to greater heights. You should know that you have my full support and that of my Government and all Zambians," the President said.
President Sata, who is also Football Association of Zambia [FAZ] patron, urged the team to turn every challenge into an opportunity and exploit their chances to the fullest.
He said his personal and Government's support of the team is borne not only out of the love for football but strong conviction in the unending potential of the boys, backroom staff and FAZ officials.
Zambia are in Group C with 1994 champions Nigeria, 1962 winners Ethiopia and Burkina Faso at the competition which starts on January 19 and ends on February 10, 2013.