Athletes should benefit more than administrators

Greetings to all sports lovers and welcome to this week’s Monday letter.

I hope it will be insightful to us.

Concerns about youth behavioural problems such as drug use, suicide, etc have created interest in sport as a vehicle for positive youth development initiatives. The country has had combined changing social forces such as duo income families, single parenting, children returning from schools to homes without parental supervision. And concerns for positive youth development have made stakeholders look to social institutions like sporting clubs as intervention sites to disrupt, eliminate or mitigate communal problems that are real or perceived.

Most programmes are based on the belief that sports settings provide a context for the development of important skills and attitudes for ‘adult life’. However, sports organisations and clubs have to plan carefully as there are many factors that can influence sport as a possible setting for social, emotional as well as physical development.

Sport in Zambia, just like in many other countries, has become a source of income to both administrators and athletes themselves.

But what has been happening for so many years is that athletes benefit less, as most administrators take advantage – taking away almost half of their clients’ allowances.

Unfortunately, some successive sports administrations in our country have failed to take a clue from what happens in the advanced world on how athletes’ finances are taken care of. And some administrators know that if you don’t give sport its due place, it kills the spirit. Sport is a fantastic motivation that keeps the youth happy and a big source of income for them. Any government and sports administrator that neglects sport does great harm to the youth of this country.

We have officials who inflate sports budgets for selfish interests and in the end, athletes suffer and fail to perform. Most of the personnel serving in the various national sports federations and organisations as managers are not trained professionals in sports management and administration.

Leadership in sports federations is open to ‘every other’ person who has the interest to provide the required leadership so long as he/she is able to win elections. In addition, some administrators have overstayed. It is unfortunate the way members get selected to the various national sports associations. The sad part of it is that some of these associations have become money making machines for the members. They get to travel for free to competitions abroad and are paid huge stipends for doing nothing but going shopping and sleeping in luxurious hotels which they could never afford on their own. But they refuse to be audited or questioned on how the money was spent.

There are people who have been members of various associations for over 10 to 15 years and have never been changed and may not be changed until they die or resign.

However, not all is lost. Zambia’s sports industry can still grow in a professional manner if international sports federations and the National Sports Council of Zambia can professionalise sports management in the region.

A requirement for professional training in sports management and, or related fields as criteria for appointment or election into management positions should be emphasised and enforced. Such an undertaking is squarely in the hands of relevant government authorities that are responsible for policy formulation and implementation.

The National Sports Council of Zambia should come to a realisation that athletes don’t drop from the skies. Instead, it takes years of training and dedication to develop an athlete. For this reason, they need to work in close contact with sports administrators.

In conclusion, sports administrators should put athletes first who have made them travel for that particular tournament. An athlete who is above the age of 18 should be able to benefit more than their coaches and officials that travel for tournaments. Looking forward to interacting and sharing more ideas with you.

Send comment to: bright.t.tembo14@gmail.com, WhatsApp: +260 976 163505.

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