MOPANI Copper Mines chief executive officer Chris Vermuelen says the company has accepted to host the prestigious Zambian Open up to 2021 to demonstrate its commitment to the development of sport in Zambia.
And President Edgar Lungu says he is pleased that Nkana Golf Club will be hosting the tournament for the next four years.
Meanwhile, Zambia Golf Union president Jason Kazilimani has paid tribute to the title sponsors for the facelift done to the golf course.
The Zambia Open rolls into action tomorrow with over 20 local golfers expected to vie for the top prize.
Mopani and Redpath have co-sponsored the event and will be partners in the next three editions after being granted the rights to host by ZGU.
In his welcoming remarks to the golfers, Vermuelen said his company was convinced that bringing world class golfers to Nkana Golf Club would afford an opportunity to local golfers especially the junior golfers from Nkana Golf Club academy to fundamental international golfing exposure.
“We also believe that the Mopani/Redpath sponsorship will encourage all participants, and in particular our local players, to play well in this tournament. It is also our sincere hope that this will inspire our Zambian youths to take a serious interest in golf,” Vermuelen said.
“The Zambia Open Golf tournament, therefore, is a great opportunity for the city of Kitwe to market itself and indeed Nkana Golf Club to reaffirm its position as one of the best golf clubs in the sub-region and the continent of Africa as a whole.”
And President Lungu said: “I would like to reiterate government’s commitment and support to developing all sports disciplines in Zambia, golf included. My government keenly promotes sport in order to encourage its citizenry to proudly and successfully participate in various sports tournaments both within and beyond our borders.”
Kitwe mayor Christopher Kang’ombe said he was particularly impressed that over 100 under privileged children from nearby Kandabwe compound are enrolled at the Nkana Golf Club junior academy.
Club president Danny Callow said the club continues to seek new ways of improving the game of golf not only in Kitwe but Zambia as a whole.
“The Nkana Golf Club junior academy now boasts over 150 juniors on our books of which 50 per cent are now competent to be able to take part in club competitions and Zambia Golf Union Order of Merit tournaments,” said Callow.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s top professional golfer Madalitso Muthiya said he was very optimistic going into the tournament.
“I am very optimistic, I have been playing very well. It’s just the putting that has been a bit of a problem. But really the results have not been a true relection of the way I have been playing and that’s what I am working on going into this tournament,” said Muthiya.
Muthiya was by press time playing in the first Pro-Am.