By Salome Gangire
For the first time in the history of football development in Neno District, the council on Sunday launched K4 million football and netball leagues, courtesy of Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Two members of parliament (MPs), Thoko Tembo of Neno North and Mark Katsonga of Neno South, supported the leagues with K2 million each.
Speaking during the launch, Tembo assured the people of Neno of continued support to sports development, saying there was need to expose and export talent from Neno to other big teams.
‘My colleague Honorable Mark Katsonga and I are very keen to see sports in Neno sprout. The leagues we are launching today will be continued next year and the years to come,” Tembo said.
He added that they will also make sure other sports disciplines, such as athletics, bawo, pool and even women football are taken on board in the next editions of the league.
Tembo also pledged installing water at Neno Stadium, which went dry after a valve that used to pump water into the stadium broke down.
Director of Planning and Development, Charles Lomoni, appreciated the gesture by the two MPs, saying the district league will help to unearth hidden talents.
“Today marks a new era in sports in Neno where hidden talent in sports will be unearthed through these district leagues. All football and netball sports lovers will be entertained in all the zones,” Lomoni said.
He added that it was the wish of the council that teams from the district should be participating in bigger leagues like TNM Super League.
Lomoni, therefore, requested all teams and their supporters to show their appreciation by avoiding violence in all the games, as violence retards sports development.
Chairperson of Neno Football Association, Clemence Chabisala, hailed the council for the leagues, saying it will develop sports in the district which was starved of leagues for a long time.
The K4 million Neno District Football and Netball Leagues will run until February 2024 and will be cascaded from zones of the two constituencies to the district level, as the district has 10 football zones and 4 netball zones.
During the launch, Chifunga Zone netball select team defeated Kambale Zone netball select team 16 baskets to 11, while in football, Chifunga zone select lost to Chikonde Zone select by 2-0.
The champion will go away with K600,000.00, according to the league organisers.