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Be patient – Government tells owed Athletes 

By Sandra Mwila Siambelele | Times of Zambia 

GOVERNMENT has called on athletes owed money from various competitions to exercise patience as the country is going through a national disaster.

Sports Minister Elvis Nkandu said in an interview that the Government remained committed to pay athletes that reaped medals at the delayed 2023 African Games and other competitions but was limited with resources because of the hard times the country is passing through.

Nkandu said the sports fraternity has not been spared from the national disaster and should equally brace itself from tough 


“The sports fraternity should brace itself for 

tough times. It is a pity we have athletes that are complaining……it’s unfortunate that athletes are complaining because they know we are under stress. How do you expect the Ministry of finance to release money for sport when we don’t have food,” 

the minister said.

He said the priority of the nation was to avert hunger by ensuring citizens had food but that does not mean athletes would not be paid.

“First things first, priority is to feed our people because the drought has really done us bad. It’s not business as usual and I can’t go to the Ministry of Finance and tell them to stop feeding people 

and give athletes money. 

“Patience is important and we are aware that we owe them for the medals they reaped. The African Games are important and are just like European games,” he said.

Nkandu said the Government has still managed to provide accommodation and transport to the athletes that have been competing at international games despite the situation.

“My appeal to the athletes is that let them exercise patience and we shall sort them out. Even at home which one comes first, you feed the household before you travel. People should appreciate that despite all this we are still able to charter a plan for 

the women’s team when they went to Morocco and even those that went to African Games we provided transport and accommodation,” he said.

Nkandu said not only the African Games athletes were owed money but also the Copper Queens who were owed about US$7, 500.

“What people don’t know is that the Copper Queens were paid about US$5000 before the game against Morocco for the Angola game (Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier) and they won again in Morocco and we now owe them about US$7,500,” he said.

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