WITH the stakes high at the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa, President Michael Sata has directed the Zambia soccer team to retain the trophy.
This is a feat his Government will reward each member of the squad with US$90,000 (about KR478,000).
The Zambian players were given K360 million each for winning the 2012 AFCON championship after beating Ivory Coast 8-7 on post-match penalties in the final match.
President Sata, who arrived at the Chipolopolo's base in Nelspruit around 14:15 hours yesterday, told the reigning African champions that winning the AFCON title was a must.
"Go there and teach them a lesson. I came here to deliver a message on behalf of the nation. We are very confident you are going to win and you must win," Mr Sata said.
This is contained in a statement released by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa, Paston Chilemba.
The President said there was nothing hindering the Chipolopolo from retaining the continental crown because they had already demonstrated their ability by winning the 2012 title.
"Zambia should be a team which they should fear on the continent," he said.
Chipolopolo players, led by team captain Christopher Katongo, responded in the affirmative and burst into their famous 'ngawaumfwa ubwite bwamfumu, wasuke muchinshi, muchinshi' (meaning when you hear the King's call, respond with respect).
President Sata, First Lady Christine Kaseba, Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili, and Zambia's High Commissioner to South Africa Muyeba Chikonde, joined in singing the song.
Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya and his officials also joined in the singing.
Katongo said President Sata's visit was a good motivation to the Chipolopolo as it was rare for a Head of State to check on a national team.
Government has promised a cumulative allowance of $90, 000 per player should the team retain the AFCON championship.
For reaching the final, each player is assured of pocketing $20, 000 (KR106, 000).
Kambwili disclosed this when President Sata visited the team ahead of their opening match against Ethiopia today at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
The Chipolopolo take on Nigeria on Friday before wrapping up the group matches with a tie against Burkina Faso on Tuesday, January 29.