Matete bemoans poor showing

FORMER Olympics 400 hurdles silver medallist Samuel Matete has described the performance of Zambia at the ongoing Confederation of African Athletics Championship as a national embarrassment.

Despite having the advantage of the cheering home fans, Zambia has put up a dismal performance managing only two Silver medals.

As at day three Zambia was ranked eighth on the medal bracket dominated by Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa who are commanding the top three.

Matete said the performance of Zambian athletes has exposed a lack of adequate preparation.

He says it is sad to watch the athletes embarrass the country with such performance with Zambia’s national anthem yet to play at the tournament being held on home soil.

The Olympic legend however says the athletes must not be entirely blamed but instead the indictment is on the Zambia Athletics for failing to prepare adequately.

He says Zambia has hurdles at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium but that the ZA has not been using them to train the athletes hence the embarrassing performance at the games.

Matete says the lack of technical know-how in the hurdles is risky to the athletes as they may injure themselves in the process.

Matete says Zambia should learn from those countries doing well especially South Africa.

‘”You can imagine you have the same age group with South Africa but why are they so good at these technical categories, what is it that they are doing that Zambia can’t do,’’ Matete said.

“You can imagine they take these kids and out them in international competition without preparations, because that kid (hurdles runner) could have even broke his hand or neck because you are a subjecting a child to something that you have not prepared him for,” Matete said.

Matete added that the performance was a huge embarrassment and that the good thing is that the entire nation was watching.

“That was a huge embarrassment and the good thing is that you are seeing it for yourself so that when we talk one-day these people can start listening to us,”

Meanwhile, Matete has castigated the over enrollment of athletes as it was posing to be an exercise in futility with no medals to show for.

He said it was like the ZA is focused on getting medals but without investing in preparation.

Meanwhile, Zambia Athletics youth coach Sydney Mushipe is confident that Zambia may scoop gold in the final stages of the youth championship in Ndola.

“So far we have managed two medals but most of the heats where we are strong are coming and we might increase the number of medals for team Zambia.

Mushipe urged the athletes not to be intimidated by countries that are doing well and focus on making the nation proud in the remaining events.

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