SPORTS minister Emmanuel Mulenga says football will grow in the country if the grassroots amateur is supported.
Mulenga said it is for this reason that his ministry has embarked on a nationwide inspection of amateur teams to appreciate the challenges being faced at grassroots level.
He said there is need to alleviate challenges being faced by amateur leagues and ensure talent at lower leagues is supported fully.
Mulenga said a well-structured amateur football league will culminate into development of football at national team level.
The Ndola Central PF member of parliament said this after watching the Copperbelt amateur league game between Luanshya Celtics and New Twapia United in Ndola.
He noted that among the many challenges amateur leagues are facing is the poor state of football pitches.
“I will make sure as minister in charge that most of these challenges our young people are going through are attended to effectively to easy things for them as they labour to excel in their football career,” Mulenga said. “I will sit down with technocrats at the ministry to ensure that we go flat out not only in urban areas but rural ones too.”
He said lack of proper kit and soccer balls was another huge mountain young clubs had to climb.
Mulenga said there is urgent need to develop infrastructure at the lower leagues and make sure that young talent is well nurtured and supported.
He donated five soccer balls worthy K2,250 to New Twapia United Football Club.
Mulenga besides giving the two teams K500 each and donating a set of jerseys to the home team, also pledged his personal bus to New Twapia United which he said will be used to ferry the team whenever it is playing away from home.
“His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s desire is to see to it that many young people through our ministry invest their energies in productive things especially what they are doing today and to that effect, he had come up with many empowerment programmes aimed at uplifting the welfare of youths,” said Mulenga.