By Innocent Mvundula
Vice President Saulos Chilima has asked Malawi National Council of Sports to be more vibrant and innovative to ensure that sports reclaims its lost glory.

Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, met officials from the sports implementing arm of the government in Blantyre on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Chilima told Sports Council that it was time to stand up and be counted.

“As a parastatal responsible for sports development in the country, Sports Council must raise its relevance and not play second fiddle. We need a rebirth of the council that breathes life and energy into sporting activities across the country. To this effect, we have requested that the council shares with us its strategic plan so that the reforms department can give proper guidance on the way forward,” Chilima said.

“We have also agreed that there should be a holistic effort to rejuvenate sports in the country. The feeling out there is that we have regressed as a country instead of progressing. We need to reach the level of exporting talent to Europe and other top flight leagues across the globe just like other African countries are doing including our neighbours.”

As part of the sports reforms, Sports Council is implementing two projects namely the introduction of Physical Education (PE) in primary schools and the introduction of Automated Gate Fee Collection system in stadia across the country.

The introduction of PE aims at instilling a sporting culture in pupils as well as preparing a physically and mentally healthy nation whereas automated gate fee collection systems dwell on reflecting modernity as well as curbing abuse of funds.

“But I was quick to state that this will require total commitment from the council and other stakeholders owing to resistance by those that thrive on gate collection money at the expense of players,” Chilima added.

The country’s second citizen also told Sports Council to brand the corporate image of the sports sector to instill confidence in prospective sponsors.

Sports Council Acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, said they had fruitful discussion with the Vice President.

“We are in the process of reviewing our blue print. We are at the level of talking to stakeholders on the review process. We need to create a base for the council and be active in generating resources,” Mereka said.

Chilima, who is no stranger to sports as he regularly plays basketball, is championing reforms in all sectors of government operations including sports.

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