SPORTS Minister Moses Mawere has described the 2018 sporting season as successful despite the country's failure to qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Mawere said his ministry will support all sports disciplines equally than concentrating too much on football that is not bringing desired results.
The minister said this during a press briefing at Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday that the overall performance of most sports disciplines has been impressive except for football that saw the Chipolopolo fail to qualify to the Afcon for the second consecutive time while the age-group teams also did not qualify.
"From our observation as a ministry, we have discovered that we are able to get precious medals from these sports that are regarded as minor. From football, it becomes very difficult for us to get those medals so if we concentrate all our resources towards one sport, then it means we will never get any medals.
"We have generally seen a lot of corporate support, more academies and interest from the public towards sport which is a great thing and we strive to promote sport in the country at all levels," said Mawere who also revealed that the ministry will this year conclude the establishment of a Sports Department at the University of Zambia.
And Mawere said National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) has so far raised K85, 000 from the K150, 000 needed to host the 2018 Sports Awards gala, hence the postponement of the event.
He said among the companies that so far come on board are Topstar with K50, 000 cash and K15, 000 in kind, Zesco K20, 000, Atlas Mara Bank K10, 000 and Higer K5, 000.
In the running for Sportsman-of-the-year award is four-time national rally champion Muna Singh, eight-time Mr Zambia Sylvester Mwila and Polocross ace Damain Harries.
FIFA referee Gladys Lengwe has been nominated for the Sportswoman-of-the-year award alongside chess player Lorita Mwango and badminton ace Ogar Siamupangile.
Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five gold medalist Niddy Mingilishi, swimmer Mia Phiri and equestrian Bunty Howard have been nominated for the junior sportswoman-of-the-year while judo captain Simon Zulu, runner Kennedy Luchembe and handball player Felix Kabunda will battle it out in the junior sportsman-of-the-year.
The handball under-17 national team, Polocross national team and the hockey under-18 national team have been nominated for the team of the-year-award with Green Eagles trainer Agrey Chiyangi, handball under-17 coach Mwenda Bwalya and hockey national team trainer up for the coach-of-the-year award.
Zambia Daily Mail's Diana Chipepo, Godfrey Dube from Times of Zambia and Daily Nations' Grace Chaile are up for the print journalist of the award while the electronic media category has ZNBC's Maureen Kaseba, Humphrey Mwansa from Prime Television and Sky Radio's Wezzy Mazunda.
The Medal of Honour award nominees are Mopani Copper Mines, Henry Courtyard Executive Lodge and Madison General Insurance.