Turmoil in Zambia’s Commonwealth team as government fails to pay allowances for athletes

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Turmoil in Zambia’s Commonwealth team as government fails to pay allowances for athletes
Turmoil in Zambia’s Commonwealth team as government fails to pay allowances for athletes

Africa-Press – Zambia. Moral is low in Team Zambia at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as athletes have gone for weeks without receiving their daily allowances. And officials that have accompanied the team to the UK are entitled to receive US$350 per daily while athletes will receive US$ 50 per day.

With only five days to go before the Commonwealth Games closes, the Zambian athletes have not received their allowances since arriving in the UK including for the two week training camp in Zambia.

In strange circumstances, the athletes have been told that they are not entitled to winning bonuses even after they mint medals. Zambia has sent a strong 41 member team from nine sports codes namely Athletes, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Rugby Sevens, Para-powerlifting, Squash, and Swimming.

Information gathered from people close to the matter indicate that the lack of payments of allowances has demoralized the team. The sources said moral in Team Zambia is at the lowest as the athletes feel cheated by officials from the Ministry of Sports, the National Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association of Zambia (NOC/CGA Zambia).

One of the athletes interviewed on condition of anonymity said Sports Minister Elvis Nkandu who is in the UK has been elusive over the matter. The sources said Team Manager Doris Mulenga has equally been elusive and she has failed to visit the team village since the team arrived.

“We have failed to put our frustrations across to him (Hon. Nkandu) because our Federations have been blocking us but we know he knows that we need to be paid. Some of us took leave from our full time jobs to come and represent Zambia and we were hoping the allownaces will cover up for the lost days at work but we are here and we are stuck and bills back home are piling up.”

Another source said, “it’s so discourageing that the officials including the Minister are here but not attending the games, there are nowhere to be seen here. They are busy in their hotels while the athletes have not been funded. How do you expect medals like that?”

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