15 March 2014

Zambia: Matete to Challenge Mpondela

FORMER World 400 meters hurdles champion and 1996 Olympic silver medallist Samuel Matete has announced his candidature for the Zambia Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) presidency.

And ZAAA has announced that the elective annual general meeting (AGM) would be held in December when the office bearer's term comes to an end contrary to the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) directive for all sports bodies to hold elections by March 31.

Zambia's most successful sports personality will challenge long serving incumbent Elias Mpondela for the ZAAA top position during the elective general meeting set for December.

Matete said at a press briefing at Lunte Guest House in Kitwe yesterday that his main priority was to strengthen structures at the grassroots level.

"As you may be aware the Zambia Amateur Athletics Association will be having an elective annual general meeting in a few months according to the constitution. So as of today, I have decided to aspire for the position of the president because I want to revamp and develop athletics in my country," Matate said.

Matate said the state of athletics in the country was very worrying but that he will work hard to raise the state of the sport in Zambia.

"The current state of athletics in the country means it will take many years basically to develop the kind of athletes that we want to bring medals to Zambia. When elected I will set short and long term goals on this issue," he said.

Matate added that he was also aware that he was going to face a tough race for the ZAAA presidency.

"I think in every battle you don't expect to fight without firing back. I know this is a battle that is not going to be easy. There will be fights and you will start hearing all sorts of things. It is unfortunate that life is like that," Matete said.

He said if elected he will revamp the running of the Inter Company Relay (ICR) but it will be administered under a different structure.

Meanwhile, ZAAA secretary general Phil Kubombela said in Lusaka over the weekend that elections would be held in December, adding that even the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) statutes support their stance.

This announcement will raffle some feathers both within and outside the athletics family with the SCZ expected to be among those rattled.

"We are not holding an AGM this month as I have heard some people speak. The truth is that the AGM has been set for December this year because that is when our four years is coming to an end and not this month," Kubombela said.

Kubombela, who is not re-contesting his position but would vie for another post, said all positions were up for grabs but warned that aspirants must be in good books and also be members of ZAAA.

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