President Rupiah Banda has predicted that Zambia would one day grab the African Cup title. Addressing soccer fans who turned up to have a glimpse of the President and the visiting Chinese Premier, President Banda predicted that the Africa Cup was coming to Zambia in-light of the earmarked construction of the modern stadia in the country.
Mr Banda observed that Zambia merely participated in the continental tournaments but failed to deliver and grab the Cup because both the people and the Chipolopolo Boys including many other players were not motivated owing to poor infrastructures in the country.
“Africa Cup title will be crowned to our country, be rest assured, he said. The happy-looking Banda told the fans to support Government in its programs of developing football including other sports disciplines in the country.
The president was speaking today when he laid a foundation stone at the location where the state of art Lusaka Independence Stadium is to be constructed with the help of the Chinese government at a cost of US$94 million with a capacity to hold 50 000 people.
Officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony in Lusaka today which was also witnessed by visiting Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu President Banda said Government had initially desired to start constructing the Lusaka modern stadium using local resources but that it was unable due to inadequate funds.
ZANIS reports that the President noted that in the past, Zambia had difficulties to host international sporting tournaments because of poor infrastructure existing in the country but that once the project was completed, the country would equally be able to host international events like South Africa which hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
He commended the Chinese Government for helping Zambia build three modern stadia in the country; in Ndola on the Copperbelt which is expected to be completed by June this year, the planned Lusaka stadium and the third in the tourist capital, Livingstone.
The President urged the Zambian people against vandalism of the infrastructure saying it was detrimental to national development and appealed for support to the Shanghai Construction Group, the contractor that had been assigned to build the Lusaka modern stadium. The construction works for the Lusaka stadium is expected to last 30 months.
Speaking earlier, visiting Chinese Premier Hui Liangyu disclosed that the construction of stadia in the country would make Zambia a shining example in Africa in terms of ‘modern and quality’ infrastructure works.
Mr. Banda reiterated that the assistance China had rendered to the Zambian Government had helped deepen bilateral co-operation as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.
He said China was proud to take part in Zambia’s socio-economic development which had continued to exist for the past 47 years of diplomatic ties.
At the same occasion, Zambia’s Sport, Youth and Child Development Minister Kenneth Chipungu said the construction of the stadia in Zambia once completed would mark a mile-stone in improving the sport especially football in the country.
Mr Chipungu said that the assistance Zambia was receiving from China had enabled Government to be committed in the area of sport and he echoed President Banda’s remarks that once the stadia was completed this would allow Zambia host continental games.
Vice President George Kunda, Zambia’s Ambassador to China Joyce Musenge, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Qiangmin, some diplomats accredited to Zambia, Cabinet Ministers, their Deputies as well as Permanent Secretaries from various Government line Ministries including senior Government officials from China witnessed the ground breaking ceremony.
The Chinese Premier later proceeded to visit Johnken Estate Limited, a Chinese-owned farm in Chisamba, Central Province.
The visiting Premier is expected to depart Zambia tomorrow after completing his scheduled business.