FAZ PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Godfrey Chikumbi says it is shocking that government remains the biggest sponsor of football in the country, 58 years after independence.
In an interview, Chikumbi, a journalist and sports administrator, said the government must be commended for being the owner of most football clubs.
He noted that there were very few governments in the world today that still pumped millions of dollars into football like the Zambian government was doing.
“Currently, the Zambian government owns and sponsors eight out of the 18 premier league teams namely Green Buffaloes, Green Eagles, Zesco United, Prison Leopards, Red Arrows, Kabwe Warriors, Nkwazi, Indeni and a lot more lower league teams,” he said.
Chikumbi who is also a member of the National Sports Council of Zambia and vice-president of Mansa Wanderers Football Club said the government was an unsung hero that had bankrolled football since independence.
“Tell me, how many governments across the world are doing what we do here? Just those clubs alone have created jobs for players and members of the technical team every season. I don’t think government is even getting a return on its continued investment into football, especially that even national team football has collapsed,” he said. “We should salute government for always being an all-weather partner of football. If government pulled out, football collapses immediately; that tells you how vulnerable we are.”
Chikumbi said time had come for clubs to stand on their own and not overly depend on government.
He said if he were elected FAZ president, he would build a business model that would create different revenue-earning platforms and make clubs stand on their own.
And Chikumbi said his executive would set up a proper corporate governance structure that would give a true commercial value of Zambian football.
Chikumbi is currently working as district information officer for the Zambia News and Information Services in Mansa.
Previously, he served as executive committee member of the abolished Luapula Amateur Football Association.