FOLLOWING their reconciliation, Zambia Amateur Athletics Association has rewarded Samuel Matete with three positions.

The former world 400m hurdles champion, who has for the last five years been running court battles with Mpondela and ZAAA, has been appointed deputy national coach, technical director and would also be in charge of athletics development region one.

The northern region, which is also region one covers Kasama, Luapula, North-Western, Copperbelt and Muchinga provinces.

ZAAA president Elias Mpondela announced Matete’s new roles yesterday at a press briefing held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

He said Matete’s exploits should be passed on to today’s athletes and that his return to ZAAA brought excitement beyond measure.

“What an incredible jubilation this brings to me having gone through a lot of…not excruciating, but having being called names. You know they have given me a lot of names. [But] my personal belief is to enable others do great works, that’s my personal belief. So anyone who comes with free hands, I go into their lives and ask them to expand with me. When he came he told me that ‘We have come to remove you’, I am sure he has told you his own story because he was told by my adversaries that he is very obstinate and doesn’t want to help,” Mpondela said.

“We want to do more and we have come to believe as an association that when we become more, we can do more and achieve more. That’s why the coming of Samuel Matete has created incredible joy to us and we have decided that we cannot only welcome him, because he is already a refined product and in his coming, he said ‘I want to be on the track, I want to spend time on the track’. In consultation with my executive and the coaches, we have then decided that he cannot just come…we have decided to appoint him as deputy national coach of athletics, he is deputy to Douglas Kalembo, we have also appointed him as the technical director of the high performance centre. You may wish to know that there already exists a high performance youth training centre, and we have now been nominated as a country, because of incredible performance, we have been chosen among the six countries in Africa to host a centre for African development here in Zambia and it is called African Athletics Development Centre and the director of that centre will be Mr Kalembo and the technical director will be our brother here (Matete).We have also given him another position that he will take care of the region, what we call region one, which is the northern region.”

And Matete said sports was not about arguments, regardless of institutional differences.

“Sports is not about arguments as much as we know that there are always differences in organisations which you are all aware of. We had one and remember we were in the courts of law. Being a sportsman myself, you can be in courts forever but athletes need to compete, athletes need to train and athletes need someone to motivate or train them. The athletes want to go to the world championships, the athletes’ programme is to compete and win just like I was. I can imagine myself when I was training and being told that my coach is in court, it would have a negative impact on me,” Matete said.

“Being an athlete the caliber I was, I have always been drawn back to training and grooming athletes so I formed an academy but one day, I woke up and realised that it has been five years. Five years has gone so fast and looked at myself and asked that what have we done to help develop athletics? I said to myself that this is not right. Five years is very painful that we cannot develop athletes, in five years you can develop an athlete and possibly be one of the best in the world. I told my colleague that we need to get back to ZAAA. Let’s forget about everything, let’s forget about courts, let’s get back to ZAAA and see how best we can support the current executive and help develop athletes. I am here to announce to the nation today that I am here to put athletics first; I am here to let you know that I am back with the Zambia Amateur Athletics Association. I am very excited to go back to the sport we love so that we can help develop the athletes.”

Matete, who holds an IAAF certified level 3 and 4 in sprints and hurdles, has also coached at the High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in Mauritius.

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